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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bootes, the Herdsman

Yesterday: one of those glorious, bright cool spring days, with the peonies beginning to unfold tender purple leaves, and the dogs lying in a patch of sun on the porch.

After hospital rounds, I came home to find my kitchen filled with young cooks and kale and apple salad, guacamole, mint tea underway for the Shed Shower. And people came. And came. An old friend from Philadelphia, Nashvillians young and old, lame and leaping, musicians, storytellers, teachers, heavy-equipment masters, docs, layabouts, handymen, teachers with other people's children, newshounds and writers, woodworkers, deerskinners, chicken farmers, winemakers--we all ate, walked the garden, gossiped, watched the kids in the creek, and just enjoyed the afternoon.

The Shed Shower pretty much equipped the outdoor kitchen (donated stove, fridge, couch, chairs, pots, pans, canners, tablecloth, a copper skillet that would look really really good in MY kitchen!, benches). Thank you, thank you.

Then the bonfire, music, and blanched cabbage blossom salad. At one point there were TWO chocolatiers in the kitchen, tasting, talking fermenting, roasting, cocoa butter versus oil, chocolate liquor, and cocoa bean varieties being grown in Nicaragua.

I took my binocs down to the campfire to look at stars, and was astonished when a dreadlocked buddy of Rachel's bounded off to his car and came back with his apparently standard equipment of star book, map and laser pointer! Who grows these miraculous young? He showed me Arcturus and Bootes, the Herdsman, who is sitting smoking a meditative pipe, presumably surveying his flocks with a gentle and proprietary air in the cool of the evening.

Appropriately enough, Orion the Hunter was just wheeling down out of sight behind the hills across the road.

Yesterday that was me, Bootes, enjoying our rural kingdom of an evening, with a weak gin-and-tonic standing in as my metaphorical pipe. And this morning the glow still holds, even though Rachel, Casey, Mary Claire, Tom, and the other young man, the one with blond curly hair whose name I can't remember (but his father is a songwriter), unfolding from sleep into the kitchen, aren't exactly my flock, and my survey, over coffee, recognizes that proprietary is not the right angle here.

Unlike Bootes' flock, they are free to go. But also welcome back any time.

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