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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DinDin, Spring 2011

We are warily anticipating a huge 13-yr cicada bloom this spring, with all the tin-pan clanging buzz that accompanies this wonderful and bizarre phenomenon. This batch is known as Brood XIX, and, according to Cicada Facts, consists of at least four species, all sounding like the cherubim and seraphim I've been thinking about lately. That is, the names--neotredecim, tredecim, tredecassini, tredecula--sound like angel species. I'm pretty sure no non-fallen angel would claim the chainsaw mating call. (Maybe no non-fallen angel would claim ANY mating call, however melodic.)

Until they drive us out, we are still attending the Church of Outdoor Dining. I thought that watercress and redbud salad was the perfect early spring dish, but mid-spring has its own contenders. How about our own bamboo shoot green curry over rice, with garden lettuce salad and just-picked asparagus? Besides, it's just so damn pretty--all those pale greens.

That was dinner a couple of nights ago, when Virginia, Martha, and Tom helped DiAnne plant her zinnia bed, and the Rachels showed up to help cook. Breeze rustling bamboo, a trill of windchimes, an undertone of fountain with small accents of koi lipping their kibble...A tiny peace, about to be invaded.

Also found a recipe for cicada snacks, supposedly tasting "like avocado" when still white and tender. Think we'll settle for just the din, and skip the cicada dindin.

For now, sticking to bamboo and lettuce and anticipation...let me know if you are a braver soul from a culinary point of view.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

All You Need Is Love

Still knocked out this morning from last night's entertainment: Neighbors Barry and Minda, in their alternate personae as the Beatles Fan Club and Research Group, hosted a Bells Bend fundraiser. Don Henry and Bill Lloyd did a stand-up-'n-shout turn as the Fab Four, assisted by an audience which knew all the words, could impersonate the ocarina, and supplied, near the stairs, an impromptu rhythm section.

And, the final touch for the idolatrous masses--Fred "Too Slim" Labour, telling the tale of rumours of Paul's untimely death, largely fueled by imaginative details supplied by a comic article he wrote as a U of M sophomore for the school paper. "Then they wanted me on a television show with F. Lee Bailey, to get at the real truth..."

All of this at the far end of the potholed and rutted lane serving our neighborhood rustics as a driveway.

This morning, cracked clouds, masses of purple clematis suddenly out, Eric and Whitney load up the tent, tables, and harvest for the market, and I'm on the road, headed for the hospital, singing "Hey, Jude"...

Don and Bill, Too Slim, neighbors, friends, Fab guys all--sentimental as it may sound, there is really nothing else to say except that sometimes joy does break through--glorious, whacked-out, and childish as it always is. Thank you.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Sound of Angels

It's been cold and rainy these last few weeks, so the Tuesday potlucks have wound up in our kitchen. Since it's always a school night for me (we say that now-retired Tom and the farm are on "full wife-support"), I usually head upstairs, abandoning about twenty kids, with their attendant plates, crumbs, beerbottles, and dogs, just a little bit after the banjos, dobro, and fiddles get going, along with a little hollering and footstomping. From upstairs, the music is pleasantly mesmerizing, a nice transition to sleep.

It reminds me of an afternoon when I was 9 years old, and my brother and I were, as usual, messing around in the woods behind our house, digging holes, floating twigs down the ditch, and climbing trees. We heard, at first faintly, then more strongly, lovely, far-away music, music with no rational explanation, coming from beyond the trees and pastures. We looked at each other speculatively, and I, for one, really, really thought that maybe, just maybe the magic predicted in church was actually happening and this was, just maybe, genuine angel music--that the barrier between Northern California and heaven had broken down, and the music of the spheres was leaking through. In our prayer-drenched world this seemed perfectly logical, and, in fact, we could think of no other explanation.

We crept from tree to tree towards the melody, which grew louder and louder, and finally revealed itself to be nothing more transcendental than our distant neighbor, a retired band director, playing his French horn on his front porch.

Since then I've been deeply sceptical about anything relating to real-life transactions with cherubim and seraphim.

However, when I came downstairs the next morning, to find the kitchen spic and span (well, above its usual standard, anyway), all dishes, pots, pans, leftovers scrubbed and stored, counters wiped down, bouquet restored to the table center--well, the idea of angelic presence seems pretty compelling.

Thanks, kids--you're too good.