Sunday, January 11, 2015

Read.Eat.Listen: Mom

Today would have been my mom 80th birthday, which is as hard to believe as it is to think that she passed away more than a decade ago. I don't know there is a bigger 'life learning event' than a parent's death. Any notion of permanence goes out the window; an awareness of the hows and why's of one's attachments becomes abundantly clear and no matter how old you might feel, you realize more than ever that you're responsible for your own reactions. And as the years go by, you realize anew how much you owe to your parents.
Read: Sometimes, all I have time or inclination for is poetry. More from Jane Hirshfield:

For What Binds Us
By Jane Hirshfield
There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest—

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.
Eat: Mom, dear Phyllis Jane, wasn't much of a cook or baker, but she occasionally whipped out a killer angel food cake. I loved watching the whole process of her separating eggs and whipping the whites into a great soft mound of goodness to lift and leaven the batter. Plus licking the bowl of its sweet sugary residue after the cake was in the oven was as much a treat as the finished result. As an adult, I don't keep white sugar or white flour in the house, so I searched around for a healthier equivalent and found this raw vegan version from Real Raw Kitchen  (It sounds deliciously coconutty albeit is nothing like what my mom made); and this Gluten Free (but sugar-ful) version from Gluten Free Mommy. Bon appetit!
Listen: While my song"Adding Water to the Ashes" is about faith and lost love more than anything, it owes a ton to my love for my mom.  I've been playing this song for years but finally have some live footage from the show last week at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.
"Adding Water to the Ashes" from the 2008 Cd of the same name.


Sally said...

Happy Birthday Phyllis!
Thought of your Mom, and you, this morning realizing it was the 12th and not the 11th.

Bird in the Tree said...

xo Sal