Monday, April 20, 2015

Read.Eat.Listen: Iterations

I grew up on a wooded hill so I'm always jonesing a little for a nature hike. Getting outside is generally the most reliable head clearer. These days, living in Alameda, the San Francisco Bay is both the backyard and the nature escape. And with no hills to climb, that means heading for either the beach or on the water.  On Friday, we took off for a long-planned overnight sail to Paradise Bay, a lovely anchorage on the east side of Tiburon. We'd sailed there more than a year ago and I had memories of a smooth sail, warm air and gentle anchorage, suitable for a little yoga on the deck and napping in the sun. Anticipating a similarly idyllic two days, I dressed in shorts, brought my iPad writing set-up, and we added the mandolin to the on board instrument inventory. However, though the weather was warm and clear when we set out on Friday, the water soon became choppy and rough. Out came the long pants and foulies.
It should be noted here that while I'm a pretty experienced outdoors person,  I'm really a fair weather sailor. Suddenly, I was feeling nauseous.  Fortunately my captain is more than capable, and ably navigated the rough patch while I worked on steadying myself. 
I was reminded how easily the mind gets attached to an idea of how things should be like they were before. Hah! Paradise, it turns out, like everything, is changeable.  The upside of the strong wind and current was arriving at Paradise Bay in record time, albeit amid high winds, cool air and a half-hidden sun.
Once I got over partially cloudy and cool weather, I embraced our actual circumstance. There's something so soothing about sleeping on water. And waking to coyotes howling through the morning fog and loons paddling on the calm morning water isn't bad either.
Read: The Folded Clock, by Heidi Julavits, is a diary, but it's nonlinear. Comprised of two years of highly literate entries, each started with "Today, I..." Julavits mines insights about her everyday motivations and encounters with bracing candor, about herself, her strength and shortcomings, creating a new order of experience.
Eat: A friend handed me some scissors and directed me into her garden recently to harvest some of the many fava beans she'd grown. I shelled them for salad and for pasta and proceeded to see fava's everywhere, on menus and grocery bins. Fava beans,  are something I would have hated as a kid and now find beautiful. Large and green and kidney shaped, I like them as much for their aesthetic as their flavor. This Fava Bean and Pecorino dish is simple and pretty.
Listen: I've been fortunate to hear a lot of great live music lately a while reviewing shows for No Depression. Someone I'm looking forward to seeing play there next month is Steve Poltz. I'm not sure any video can capture how mind-blowing Poltz is live — he's as much performance artist, comedian,  faith healer and spirit channeler as songwriter/guitarist — but this will have to do until you see him. Poltz tours a lot. (Bay Area heads up: He's in Berkeley in May and in SF in July.) Check him out.

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