New Year’s Day was a birthday for my second born and a smorgasbord for the relatives. Pickled herring, cheeses and pressgurkin, gravlax, pate, pepparrot, Janssons frestelse, kuttbullar, sometimes lutefisk, bruna bonor, appelflask, oxrelader.
Akvavit poured in just the right amount. How we linked arms and shouted “skol”. I can still hear my mother-in-law’s voice, “That will warm the cockles of your heart.”
crispy sharp on old flowers
cold stabs in the mind
dVerse haibun prompt on New Year memory. Forgive my Swedish spelling.
I swore this would not turn into a food blog. My second thoughts and the idea of serving a cookie for breakfast and baked in the reality that I have always sifted the thought of writing a cookbook since meeting my former and present husband, Greg, who taught me how to cook liver and onions. If that sounds like a run-on sentence it probably is, and so also is the desire to be a good cook and to write about it.
The liver and onions is not a metaphor, it was one of Greg’s prime dishes. The sweet aroma of sautéed onions waffling up in the BOQ, followed by the immergence of thin, fleshy organ meat, all cooking away in a cast iron skillet. That was the start of my desire to conquer the art of cooking and relationships. I studied it. I wanted to make it work. I even tried oxtail but to no avail. People sent recipe books for wedding presents so I did have help.
We stewed our lives together in a do-it-yourself house with two children, several dogs and a cat. My skills improved. The heat of the cast iron skillet still on the stove, melts the butter, and I am free to throw in the ingredients, some that cook fast and a few that refine themselves very slowly creating an irresistible taste.
wait for the moment
stepping out of the kitchen
to eat a cookie
The first white pelican I saw was in Florida. My husband and I were driving past a pond and there it was resting on the water. I shout white pelican, white pelican. (We were sometimes birders.). Go around the block. He won’t do it. He keeps going. There is only so much pain I can wear on my face. I kept it there for days.
Now in Texas he says – did I tell you there were white pelicans on the lake yesterday? White pelican, white pelican. We walk to the lake seeing them from a distance. We keep walking to the shore and there they are, about a hundred more.
After breakfast I want to show Greg the lake. It is late in the morning. More people have put in boats. The sun is on the lake where we stand to decide our day. We can walk the loop around Lightning Lake. No, that will be in the shadow, Greg wants to be in the sunlight. Let’s go this way I say, we can go to the bridge. Not if its in the shadow, Greg says.
Along the trail there are patches of shade, there is grumbling along the way. We go beyond Rainbow Bridge where there are spots of sun. Greg wants only to be in the sun. He stops by a boulder on the shore and falls asleep. I walk further watching the shore and Greg, then turn back to join him. Around his boulder are plants, small seeds of sedge and lupine, and tiny birds that come to eat.
Suddenly there is a piercing sound almost like a coyote in the distance. It fills the woods with its call, startling me from my study of flora and fauna. It collapses back into silence. There it is again, this time the mind memory of the loon, the unforgettable voice of the loon. Across the lake it glides along the water, stretches its neck to call again.
hear the sound of a loon
that calls to its mate
waking the dawn
Lightning Lake is in the E.C. Manning Provincial Park in British Columbia.