Fragrance from incense, heavenly scented flowers, like roses, lilacs, and magnolias, or even the sidewalk coffee smell oozing from a cart, can be a gateway to consciousness. For a moment, we are entranced, swept away from the nitty gritty streets to a faraway land where a sea breeze, jasmine, or pine rules. Fragrance jolts the memory, and we are back in grandma’s kitchen, or a favorite Italian restaurant. Never underestimate the power of a puff of lavender or spray of sage. What’s your favorite fragrance? What memory might it bring to mind? Light a clove candle and think about it.
To bumble is to create a stirring, a high flying energy that has its own upward spin. To stumble is to fall down and get up again, like an eternally optimistic toddler. If you want to create a rumble in your routine, bumble first. All good things come to pass after a bit of bumbling and stumbling around. Even cookies crumble before a recipe is perfected.
Tea is a ritual and destination every morning. Brewing tea is a moving and sensory meditation. It wakes me up and gets the day going. The tea shelf hosts several orderly and labeled cans (from recycled Zabar’s tea cans) and ranges from robust Irish or English Breakfast to demure Darjeeling to subtle or strong chai, various herbal mixtures, roasted bancha and other green teas, lavender, lime, French Vanilla, and Russian, which is like tea with an exclamation point. Nowhere else is my home or life so orderly and delightful. I sip as long as I can, my thoughts steeping over the day’s to do list, or perhaps a pleasant procrastination, reading a magazine or book. Enjoy your tea and and let it brim with calm vigor as you savor your day.
My mom’s father, Pop Barney, died when I was ten. More memorable than his sweet smile and cigars were the the Charm’s or Tootsie Roll lollipops he gave us on visits. His status as a Depression-era Brooklyn candy store owner commanded respect. A lollipop from Pop was a special treat, and often came with his words, an incongruous aphorism, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Who understood adults, anyway? We understood love, and a lollipop was love on a stick. I get that now, when I give my little grandson heart stickers or the Bomba chips he loves. The lollipop era may have had its last licks, but the memory of Pop’s pops will linger forever. What bygone treat can you taste? What flavor was your lollipop?
I once met a soil engineer. I don’t remember what he did, but it sounded important. He gets his hands dirty and saves the earth. I throw a few seeds in the soil and watch them scatter, hoping they will land somewhere. Nebraska? Alaska? Staten Island? How far will the richness of imagination (as opposed to earth science or soil engineering) travel? I like to believe that my toil today enriches the soil. As I dig and scatter, I’m more earthworm than tractor. Can’t say that about the coal and oil guys. What about you?
Just because something is edible doesn’t mean you should eat it. Which is why at a young age, after my mom put a tongue (as in cow) out for lunch, I swore I’d become a vegetarian (which I did, in college). People eat many disgusting, tasteless, icky, slimy, delicious but bad for you foods, in the name of edible adventurousness. We don’t have to swallow everything put in front of us. Eat to live the edibles that delight and nourish you, and that don’t destroy the planet or gross you out.