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It’s been a while since I wrote here: as it happens, it’s a Sunday evening again. I’ve already boiled the baby potatoes we will have later with beef fillet, and spinach is soaking in the prep bowl. I love cooking  a chunk of fillet in a pan to medium rare, and only after, slice it, blood still oozing onto the white plate.

I’ve just poured us each a glass of a cabernet sauvignon/shiraz blend: it has a gold veritas rating. I was not really in the mood for red, though it’s cool outside, skies just clearing after a late afternoon thunderstorm. I will have a glass of it, maybe two, and make a red wine sauce for the steak with whatever is left.

I’m sitting at my dining room table, a favourite place to do this:  just this second though my eye caught the headline and picture on the Mail & Guardian of Friday past, lying on the table: Nelson Mandela is dead. Johannesburg is  heaving with emotion. The nation is laying wreaths and mourning and dancing and chanting and crying: remembering this man who made it possible for me to use that word “nation”. And yet, in my house, it’s just another ordinary Sunday evening. My husband has just come back from playing the oboe in a Xmas concert, and now he is blowing his tenor sax, playing “Round Midnight” together with a recording of Art Pepper, my favourite alto sax player, and I feel completely fine. And suddenly very aware of just  how glad I am to be alive. Just an intense sweet gratefulness for this moment: to be able to see and hear and taste and think and touch. I am so aware that I take for granted often having good ingredients for lovely meals.I almost feel like apologising about how snobby I am about wine, that I like my steak done just so, that I use only butter and extra virgin olive oil when I cook: all these things I feel are essential to my life.

And yet, it is an absolute accident of birth which placed me on this earth in this time and place with this particular way of being in the world. And here tonight:  being able to have a glass of wine, to look over to the lounge where my beloved is playing his sax, and to my left where my kitchen is waiting, to my right seeing a clear crystal vase with just open St Joseph lilies, hearing candles cracking slightly as they burn behind me on a console beneath a big mirror in my dining room.

So here I am, in my life, aware of how glad I am to be alive. Not too sad. A little glad. A lot happy to have what I have. This even: to write here, and to have someone read these words flung wantonly into cyberspace.

Seems like just another Sunday. But maybe not quite.

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