Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Happen to Like Rice

So I just found out that my son does not like rice. He's been in my home for 19 years and I just find out. Makes you wonder what other minor things around you have slipped your notice. Or other people's notice.

I happen to like rice. White rice. Sticky white rice. The kind where if you had chop sticks you could pick up a whole glob if you grasp the hunk tenderly and chuck it in quickly. It's a simple flavor, best eaten warm and steaming. It falls apart into grains in your mouth, and the gumminess is satisfyingly chewy. I could eat rice all day. I could also eat popcorn all day. Same thing only more chewy, and the butter and salt is addictive. I could eat popcorn until my lips shrivel up from the salt. I could eat strawberries a lot, too, but not the big meaty Californian ones that have little flavor or juice. Homegrown and handpicked are best. You want them firm but not mushy, and those little yellow specks of seeds are lovely to crunch. Raspberry seeds are nice to crunch, too, but too often they end up stuck in your teeth. They are about as hard to get out as some popcorn kernels--but I still love them. Of all these things I like, people who think they really know me would probably only know about the popcorn.

There are so many small details about ourselves, we can surprise someone who knows us well with any number of preferences, dislikes or opinions at any moment. We could even surprise the heck out of ourselves, by suddenly realizing that we've said out loud something about ourselves that we intuitively but non-verbally have known forever. And until my son spoke up and said he hated rice, I had never really realized how much I happen to like rice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dry Husks

Straight ahead, outside my window, hang the dry husks of bean pods that I never harvested during the growing season. Withered and yellowed, they hang like forgotten corpses, tangled in the vines which have shed their leafy cover. Long, lumpy, pale cocoons, they await for they know not what. They should have been ripped down and added to the compost heap, but it never got done. Neither did the autumn rototilling, nor the gathering in of tomato cages. I'll look at them all winter long now, like missed opportunities, and regret the time wasted doing things that will never be remembered. But those dry husks hanging there contain new life with potential. Like rain clouds ready to burst and shower the earth with water, they may pop come spring and shower the earth with seed. Volunteer beans could spring up and begin the ascent up the poles, where they, too, will produce. But those husks out there now, they are done for. Just shells, jewel boxes, treasure troves, exposed and vulnerable, and only good for what they hold within. When my body becomes a dry husk, withered and done for, what I do today will nurture the growth of treasure within that will only be discovered when the covering falls away and turns to dust.

Friday, December 5, 2008

There's a Meditation Anywhere

In a hectic schedule it's nice to find little opportunities to stop and reflect. My faith, being important to me, is the first thing I turn to. Finding time to meditate on a mystery of the faith is challenging, but there are little moment of reflection that can be inserted in a routine all the time. Three times a week I go to Curves to exercise. But even there I have found a reminder to remember. After working on the machines, there is a corner you can go to to do some stretching exercises to cool down. A chart on the wall pictures all of the exercises. The first three are for the legs, but the next five are for the arms. I've always had wimpy arms. Combine that with low blood pressure and raising your arms over your head for different stretches, and I find the simplest of all the arm exercises particularly excruciating. It is the last one, and my limbs are screaming to be lowered to my sides. All I have to do is stretch them out wide for thirty little seconds, but it is agony... until I remember that Christ's arms were stretched out on the cross for hours. Nails held him there and the full weight of his body pressed down on those wounds. He didn't complain or cry out. He endured. For my thirty seconds of puny agony I think about his pain. It's not much, but it is worth every second. I can't do those stretches now without remembering the cross and all that was done for me on it. Who would have thought that Curves, of all places, would be a place of meditation--but when our hearts are always seeking him, he finds us even on the treadmill.