Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I live in a crystalline world--frigid and brittle. Snow and ice in frozen layers on stem, twig and fence post. I have the feeling that if I poke my head out the window and scream, everything would shatter and fall tinkling into a mound of glitter. **** These are the days of layers: underwear, silk longjohns, turtle neck sweater, pants, cardigan, coat, scarf, hood over hat, mittens over gloves, boots over multiple socks. And in my mind, too, concerns build up in layers: family, friends, students, colleagues, PC forms, PC projects, PC goals, health, travel. Somewhere under it all I breathe and the essential me (love, laughter, music, poetry) taps out a cardiac rhythm on that old bongo drum, and I abide. **** A few more weeks into this month in Portugal and Spain and France, the air will be unexpectedly filled with fragrance. The mimosa's little yellow globes will bloom. "Winter Sun" it's called and there are festivals to honor it. I learned about this because I've long loved the bottled fragrance (from L'Occitane), so yesterday, in a little in-your-face to winter and because my husband accidentally packed and took my only bottle of cologne back to the US, I splurged on a bottle with my tutoring reimbursement. So now as a first layer I'll spray on sunshine, blossoms, the fields of Provence. **** Spices! These are also the days of warm spiciness: cinnamon toast, gingerbread (thanks to my son who sent the packages mix!), spice and nut tea bread, sweet potato bread, banana cinnamon muffins, carrot/apple/spice muffins. These are not typical in Romanian cuisine though I've been able to find cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves with little trouble. Ginger is a different story, but I'm sure it can be found, too. My landlady is always surprised when I share something sweet and spicey from carrots or sweet potatoes. I'm sure it seems a strange dessert compared to their frothy confections and flakey pastries. I must learn to make some of these lovely little jam-filled treats, learn the secret of the flakiness, all the layers, layers, layers.