Last weekend I went to a workshop in which a few ladies and myself did yoga and wrote. It seemed like a simple concept, but I loved it. As I have alluded to before, I am a person that thinks best when I have some kind of movement. It helps me center myself and it helps me put my thoughts in order so that I can later put things down on paper or say them aloud, depending on the situation. Among other exercises we had a writing prompt of a poem by George Ella Lyon entitled “Where I’m From.” Of course, I loved the poem and the prompt because this is something that I think about constantly and amid the rush of people, cultures, and conversations that I am part of everyday, sometimes it helps to take a step back and really center in on that very question, Where am I from? So here is my response–at least at this moment in time.
The winds of the west are the ones that called me up and out of the heartland. They whispered promises of mountains and vast ocean waters inviting the anonymity of expansiveness and the assuredness of all things awesome. The heartland had no competition with those unfettered winds. Even so, every once and a while there is an ephemeral memory that creeps back into my being when I think of things that I might miss from that Midwestern expanse I called home for some time. Like for example, the fall season. So many poets and writers talk about autumn–the crisp air that feels like a sharp inhale and taste like biting into a Gala apple plucked straight off the tree.
When fall time comes I use it as an excuse to spend more time in the kitchen, like my mother. Baking pies with amateur fingers, crimping the edges of the pie shells that stick to the sides of Pyrex glassware like a child holding on to his mother’s skirts for dear life. Experimenting with squash in all its glorious varieties
Mulling wine, spiking cider, and mixing the hot toddy that is the perfect temperature to make that crisp inhale sweet and warm again.
Chopping onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauteing with olive oil until a translucent, shimmering, and delicious aroma is released.
Throwing in spices and chopped green like confetti from a child’s playful hands and simply stirring to combine the amalgam of flavors.
My kitchen is my playground because I am from a time and a place where everything was made with love, with care, with intention, and from scratch. These aromas will always have a familiarity of home about them and the touch of playfulness, of experimentation, always lingers in the air.