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Category: Cocktail Series

Friday Musings: Love Storm

Friday Musings: Love Storm

Valentine’s Day is on Monday, and so I confess that I may have spent a minute or two reading love poems over the course of the past week. Research is, after all, a required activity for someone who blogs. I came across a poem by David Whyte called The Truelove that I’d never seen before. It made me think about the movie, The Perfect Storm, which may sound a bit odd to you, but I promise that I’m going somewhere with this. There is a certain scene that happens midway through the film when Captain Billy Tyne brings his crew up on deck and has them look across the ocean so they know what lies ahead of them. We see it too. It is my favorite moment because the look on their faces perfectly captures everything they would have been feeling: fear, awe, the sense of inevitability, the subsequent resignation. There is no way out; the only thing they can do is push on and face what is about to happen. On a smaller scale, we’ve all experienced similar instances. How many of you have stepped outside to take down the patio umbrella, ahead of a thunderstorm, and stolen a glance at the sky just to see it coming? I know that I have. What is it that we feel when we look up? Power and raw energy, for sure, but there is definitely more. For just a split second, we feel alive, really and truly alive. We are ready for the storm to unleash its power because we are certain that we can withstand it. The first flash of lightening may send us tearing back into the house and straight towards the basement, but for that instant we believe we are invincible.

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Friday Musings: Morning Star

Friday Musings: Morning Star

I think there are few people who would argue with the statement that we are currently living through a time of unprecedented difficulty. As we close in on the 2-year anniversary of the first U.S. Covid cases, we still find ourselves in a kind of holding pattern, circling the airport, waiting to learn what the future will bring. The greatest unanswered question, arguably, revolves around the concept of returning to normalcy. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s been my position right from the start. Nevertheless, I think that one of the things we can all universally agree on is that we miss human interaction and the human experiences that appeal to our sense of aesthetics. This pandemic has required periods of isolation and restriction, many of which we thought were behind us, but this recent surge feels eerily reminiscent of early 2020. From everything we’re being told, we are NOT back in that place, but it’s certainly easy to understand why we might feel that way. The bottom line is that when human beings spend too much time alone, unable to be a part of the world, a kind of sensory deprivation begins to occur that can leave us feeling emotionally drained. We are, after all, very social creatures, and we have a certain craving for interaction, connection, and shared moments of grace at a collective level. Without these things, we are greatly changed.

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Friday Musings: Ignition Point

Friday Musings: Ignition Point

In last Friday’s post, I talked about a particular sense of calm that comes on Christmas Eve that presents us with the opportunity to find a moment of deep peace and joy. This year, I felt as though that moment came to me more easily, maybe because I’d shared the idea of it with all of you, or because the actual process of writing tends to make me more open to possibilities. In either case, I walked into Zachary’s house feeling very zen and ready to take on the Seven Fishes. Things were going along swimmingly (awful pun intended) until we set a baking sheet of kale on fire in the oven. Notice the calm spirit in which I write that sentence. Now, those of you who follow me know that this is not my first fiery rodeo in the kitchen. A few years ago, we had a similar mishap during which a tray of chopped pecans entered the oven as a potential cake garnish, only to emerge as a pile of ash reminiscent of the apocalypse. Needless to say, the kale suffered a similar fate. The first time around we did absolutely everything wrong in “handling” the fire; in fact, our behavior could have easily been made into a “How NOT to Act” fire safety video. What was our biggest mistake? Ah well, we opened the oven door, of course, and the fire became an inferno. This time when Zachary reached in that same direction, I stopped him. We turned off the oven, shooed everyone out of the house, and we watched the fire burn out and die.

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Friday Musings: Tu Me Manques

Friday Musings: Tu Me Manques

In my last post, I talked about the idea of a certain balance point filled with potential that exists between movement and stillness. Since then, I made a promise to myself that I would diligently try to watch for examples of such moments in my own daily life, however I think I may have picked a bad week to get started. What was I thinking? I’m sure that most of you will agree with me in saying that there’s no problem finding movement during the holiday season, but stillness can be somewhat elusive. It was a little discouraging, but then I remembered that there is an almost magical moment of calm that descends upon my world every Christmas Eve. Have you had that same experience? It happens late in the afternoon, just as the sun is setting, right before dinnertime. Up until that point, we have been rushing here, there, and everywhere, shopping, and working, or finishing up school or exams, but we’ve finally reached the end. The stores are closed, we’re on vacation, and all the grades are in. It’s time to get started on the Seven Fishes, or whatever your family’s tradition may be. In recent years, this moment usually finds me just pulling up in front of my son Zach’s house. His street is oddly quiet, and the sky is that shade of chilly pink that belongs only to a winter sunset, but there are lights on in all the houses, and there is woodsmoke in the air.

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Prose in a Glass: Against a Wall

Prose in a Glass: Against a Wall

As many of you know, the Japanese author Haruki Murakami is one of my absolute favorites. In 2009, he traveled to Israel to accept the Jerusalem prize for literature, an award given to writers whose work deals with themes of human freedom, society, politics, and government. He was advised not to go because of the violent fighting that was occurring in Gaza at the time. He ignored that advice and gave an acceptance speech in which he said that the following quote would forever be engraved in his mind: “Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.” Although Murakami claimed not to be making a direct political speech that day, he did go on to draw metaphorical comparisons between human beings as eggs, and the systems of government that we create as walls. He believes that his one and only reason for writing is to “keep a light trained on The System in order to prevent it from tangling our souls in its web and demeaning them.” In short, the driving force behind his work is to champion human individuality and personal dignity. There is much talk of walls these days and I certainly have no desire to enter into that fray. I will say that I agree with Murakami in that the political structures we put in place to protect human rights sometimes end up being their greatest threat. The constant vigilance and demand for accountability that can come from the artistic world often seems to be one of the few things that has the power to neutralize that threat, even if only because it raises awareness.

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