A few tasty morsels

It's been grey and blustery outside lately so I've been wandering through faraway places on my computer on a sensory journey, even if only for a few moments. Here's where I've been:

David Byrne has a blog! And a fabulously random monthly playlist! For instance, this month features songs that include the names of places he just drove through on a recent road trip across southern US. That's pretty terrific. From reading his online journal, I found out that he's a big bicycle activist in NYC. Now I really think he's a god.

A couple of years ago, I visited Sweden and fell for the natural landscapes and the simple beauty that seems to define Swedish aesthetic. Camilla Engman is an illustrator and artist whose work I recenetly discovered (and am crazy about) because, somehow, she captures that aesthetic I was so drawn to - clean, simple lines, recurring nature themes, yet the work is a little moody and ominous, too.

And no internet journey ever gets very far before I veer into a food blog. Orangette is my current favourite. Like all good talent, she makes writing about food seem deceptively simple. A wonderful storyteller, she reminds me of the great MFK Fischer. And her pictures ellicit Pavlovian drooling all over my keyboard.

Finally, a provocative article I read from yesterday's Boston Globe. Did you ever think that pushing children to read too early can be detrimental to their learning? Many scientists think so. Regardless, this is a great case for letting children have unstructured playtime. Fascinating stuff for a new mum.


caught in autumn daydreaming

The fall is a funny, daydreamy time of the year for me. There's that rush of productivity that I still associate with the start of the school year fueled by crisp mornings and shorter days (though my school days are long behind me). There is nature's flamboyant finale before she curls into herself for a long winter repose. No matter that it happens every year, the turning of leaves into brilliant flame leaves me awestruck, as if I've never seen it before. I stop in my tracks several times a day and if I spot a particularly spectacular tree, I'm drawn back to it day after day, loathe to miss even a second of the show.
And yet, while my heart beats a little quicker for the beauty all around, it also makes me a little sad. Really, this whole lovely display is like nature's swan song as she exists stage left. Fin. There's personal sadness this time of the year too. Bad things seem to happen in the fall. So now a small knot of anxiety takes root just as those crisp mornings begin and doesn't really disappear until the first winter snow, as if to say, "OK, we're safe for another year." All this has the effect of making me feel simultaneously more alive and closer to death. Either way, the fall is always the time I feel grateful to be alive.

(P.S. Happy Birthday Debbie!)


Letter to a son - 9 months

Dear Milo,

You are nine months old now and you are everywhere. The world has opened up to you as if someone has raised the blinds and let the sun stream in. It's all worth a look: dust bunny, shiny trash can, the grain on the wood rocking chair, the coffee. Especially the coffee. I totally understand. Every morning, when we sit down with that first cup of coffee, we sometimes have to give you your own mug so you don't harass us with insistent and desparate whining. Good thing you haven't noticed there's nothing in your mug yet. How long before you pick up on this scam?

When I pick you up from your crib in the morning, you strain to catch a look at everything, to check out what has changed since 7 pm last night. You're wriggly and curious, as if worried that something exciting might escape notice if you stop casing the joint for a second. It's a deep pleasure to hold onto something so full of life, curiosity, excitement and love. Because in your explorations, you always include your father and me. You beam us a smile, touch our faces, poke our ribs with your toes during the morning snuggle, tug on hair, try to eat our noses.

And you are everywhere in our lives too. The other night, after you went to sleep, your dad and I comtemplated your empty high chair and missed you. We looked at that chair and it rang with the echo of your ferocious eating, dolphin squeals and the quiet gagging noise you make when we try to feed you beets. We contemplated the thought that this tiny person will all too quickly grow up, have hard times, grow old and die someday. The mere thought overwhelmed us, tears springing up, hearts bursting with a depth of emotion that has marked us forever. It was clear to me at that moment: I will never again lead a life unencumbered. You are everywhere.