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I wake up every morning in a bed just big enough for me, that used to fit two.

I roll around for a bit. Back. Side. Stomach. Other side.

Taking deep breaths, I realize I am waking up. Officially. I have the luxury of sleeping in most days, due to my night time work hours. But alas, there is nothing like a restful morning, sitting in my big brown chair with coffee, catching up on the world, and at times, looking deeply into my own.

There was something missing.

Thanksgiving was kind of shitty.

And my birthday was last Monday. I arranged a few things, and some other friends invited me into their plans, which was just what I needed. There wasn’t a way I could weather my birthday alone, and I’m thankful that I didn’t have to.

A co-worker recently asked me if I was a Scrooge, or if I enjoyed the holidays. Very quickly, I responded, “Yeah! I just got a tree! Well, a 3-ft fake tree from Fred Meyer, with sad lights, but it’s beautiful! And it was 20 bucks!”

And so now I sit, with this warmly lit Christmas tree that looks like it got into a fight with a cat, and lost. Maybe two cats.

But that doesn’t matter. In the words of Mindy Smith, “..it makes my holiday feel like Christmas.”

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Behind my tree are four paintings. They all represent seasons. Summer, Fall, Winter and onto Spring. As it goes. They make a big beautiful tree. I cherish these paintings because they were a gift from my little sisters, Willow and Olivia, who live in Georgia. My dad also helped in their final touches, and he brought them with him when he came to visit not too long ago.

Some days it takes me a long time to snap out of a funk. I’ll dig myself in too deep, knowing in the back of my mind I’ll be okay. I’ll get out of it. It’s a little disheartening to feel myself slipping into it, though. I know when it starts to happen. Bad ideas pile upon themselves and I’m left feeling like I did when I was a kid stuck under all those plastic balls at Burger King.

But like I said, I get out of it.

And days like today, I head into a kitchen, I put my head down and I chop onions.

I know, that if I put them on a low heat with butter and olive oil and salt, they will caramelize into this magnificent, sweet and savory brown sludge. A delicious sludge, albeit.

Also, I’m feeding people I do not know. I fed a gal tonight who was a southerner and said my gumbo was the best she’s ever had since living in Portland.

My sadness feels more like a hangover, at this point. Still sort of there, but on the outro. These good things, these things that make sense in my head jolt me out of it.

That kitchen, has saved me far too many times.

Maybe, it is my love of stainless steel. Big refrigerators. 1/9 pans and hotel pans, the hum of the dishwasher. It all sort of makes sense. Kitchens makes sense. Food makes sense.

All this other stuff, can be messy.

But I’ll take messy. Maybe not so much in a kitchen, but in you, I love messy.

And so my day, as the seasons come and go, will grow and fade and die and come back.

That is life.

Growing.

Fading.

Dying.

coming back.