Category Archives: Musings of the Zen Master

Keep Walking

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We got Chinese takeout last week. We rarely eat the fortune cookies so they lay about until I finally remember that the world will not end if I throw away an unopened fortune cookie, that there is no Good Will drop off site for uneaten fortune cookies. A couple of days after takeout night, I was standing in the kitchen, leaning against the wall sipping a cup of coffee and I noticed the three fortune cookies and I looked at them, concentrating to see which one called out to me. One finally did and I opened it up, cast the cookie aside and read the fortune.

For the Love of Fall

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Each Fall, when my kids and my friends’ kids were young, we we picked apples and went to the pumpkin patch and threw elaborate Halloween parties. I loved marking the season in these concrete ways, watching small hands plucking fresh apples from trees, laughing as they struggled to carry pumpkins too big for them, dressing up and turning our house into a haunted house just for them.

But the kids got older and seemed less interested and harder to impress so we stopped. At first, I was relieved because memory-making can be exhausting. But lately, I’ve missed it. Maybe it’s precisely because they kids are getting older than I want to hold on to some of these things. I am not quite ready for all of this to be part of the past.

Ridiculous

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After dropping the kids at school this morning, I had to drive downtown to go to a dental appointment so I turned on some music and lost myself in my thoughts as I drove.

Last weekend, I went to Chicago with Deborah to do strategic planning for VillageQ but we also took some time to drink bourbon and discuss my book. She had read it, had detailed notes on the manuscript and wanted to talk about it. I wanted to talk about it and didn’t want to talk about it because writing a memoir feels indulgent at times so talking about that memoir feels even more so. But Deborah is persistent. Notice I didn’t say patient because her response to my deflections was consistently, “Shut up and listen to me.” And I did –  I listened.

When it comes to writing, I understand the minutiae. I am the kind of person who will stand in a forest and describe the dappled light on the bark of a walnut tree rather than tell you there is a bulldozer 100 feet ahead in shadows ready to raze the forest. There is work to be done with my manuscript that will require me to step away from the beauty of the light and peek into the shadows.

Creating Shared History

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We have a picture of our kids eating peaches on the beach in Melides, Portugal. The dunes are behind them and they are both staring out at the ocean, peaches in hand, juice running down their chins. The truth is that I haven’t looked at that picture in over a year. I don’t need to because the memory is so clear that I can almost smell the salt in their hair, feel the warmth of their bodies, and can almost taste those peaches as if I’d eaten one myself. Each day we spent there began the same way – making lunch to take to the beach.

My family recently traveled to Orlando for the Family Forward retreat and during a workshop for Barilla’s Share The Table, Daniele Baliani, Barilla’s guest chef, recalled the days his family spent at the beach – a blanket laid out on the sand, simple food to be shared – and as he spoke, those memories from our time in Melides came back to me.