Spring Chicken is quite upset with me. It has been raining for a few days. Rain makes mud. Mud gets stuck in paws and then leaves stains on clothes and tracks on the office’s tile floor. I am not allowed to keep her inside the cottage and bringing her mud ridden to work would be the end of her office life altogether. So I leave her behind bars, and she screams at me and shivers in her little cage.
Guilt is not a good way to start (multiple) days. It is also little use to follow them with days of Reneging On Your Plans and Wondering What You Should Do With Your Days/Life and General Work Dissatisfaction and Further Whining About All of the Above Plus My Current Ant Problem.
Since my water only runs from 10am-1pm, I stay home two mornings a week to wash dishes and laundry and myself. This morning after such cleaning, I made myself brunch, two egg and chicken wiener tacos and a glass of water. The first bite I noticed a new flavor, a distinct taste of dirt. This was my last piece of lavash so I attributed the taste to staleness. However, during a later chew I noticed the blue-green dots on the second taco which could not be attributed to staleness. These were signs of a new life, one I would rather not ingest. I searched the taco in hand for such colors, and finding none I continued eating while ripping away the offending half of taco 2. Getting towards the end of A Serious Man, a movie about the crescendoing crumble of man’s life and emotional health, I picked up taco 2 and began to eat. I tasted the dirt again, and chose to believe in staleness instead of growth. It wasn’t until taco 2 punched my soft pallet with a foul wave of dirt-taste that I looked down at the lavash which was now chicken-pocked on the inside with blue-green dots and had a final half-blot of mold on a piece hanging down into the taco’s inside. I ejected the other half-blot from my mouth along with have chewed bits of egg and chicken wiener. I heard Spring Chicken outside in her cage whining to be let go, and I joined her with a few small whimpers of my own.
That said, take heart, friends. There are patches of sunlight coming in through the clouds. Consider these rose-colored bits o’ life:
1. I paused in the middle of writing this blog because my coworker, Davit, wanted to quiz me in Armenian words for fruits and vegetables. The only one I didn’t recognize was a mysterious yellow melon I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten. Still better than word recognition was the exchange. It feels good to have friends. In a few minutes I’m going to go have tea with them.
2. I am consistently making pretty dang incredible choclate chip cookies. If you visit my cottage sometime, I will make them for you. (However, it seems that my town is without milk. I found one Russian milk product but the aftertaste is so much of old cheese I can’t stomach it.)
3. I’m reading my first book on Buddhist practice, one by Director of Gampo Abbey, Pema Chödrön. Based on this reading, I don’t think I could ever really become buddhist; I am much too attached to narrative thanks to my Judeo-Christian roots. But besides basic meditation practice and an overall admonition to love all parts of yourself and lighten up, I found some real gems including my new favorite religious ritual, Feeding the Ghosts. Chödrön talks about Ghosts as those negative aspects of you that are often unreasonable, the kind of feeling that is there when you wake up and eats away at you all day.
The idea of Feeding the Ghosts is that you invite those Ghosts, those difficult and hard-to-reason feelings close to you. Ritually, you do this by offering them cake. Literally, you put out a tiny cake each morning or offer it during a small ceremony. You put out a cake for your Ghosts. From the book: “There is even an incantation that says, ‘Not only do I not want you to go away, you can come back any time you like And here, have some cake.’”
I am so in love with this idea for it’s hilarity and it’s message I think I’m going to start putting out cakes as soon as possible. But I have to learn how to make cake. I wonder if Ghosts like chocolate chip cookies.