small peace.

Usually the process of writing starts when I see that I’ve not watered my plants enough, or when a friend drops something in my lap that says, “Here! Struggle with this alongside me!”

I wake up to it all the time.

Mostly, this bright morning sun. I am not given the option to sleep late here, because when the sun is up and bright, I feel as though I am resisting its presence.

I also wake up to a dull ache that sometimes feels like loneliness. Oh, I feel it in my bones quite often. The embrace of another warm body and someone to make breakfast for.

Then there are the wars for place and history and religion.

The senseless acts of human beings just being terrible to one another.

I know, I know. It’s too much to dive into all of that. I have always carried a weight for the world, you see?

My favorite author (read: spiritual guide) wrote a little piece this week on the things I’ve been waking up to.
She ended it by saying this,

“There are many forms of thirst, many kinds of water.”

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I don’t know what to do.

And maybe that’s the best place to start.

Many mornings, I sit up and plant my feet on these wooden floors.

I can hear my ankles crack a bit, and I breathe in and out. Deep, exaggerated breaths. Like the ones I used to do in therapy when I didn’t know why or what.

There is a lot I wish I could believe. That maybe there will be a shift when things get bad enough. Or we will all be taught how to keep living in this world with all that pain and gnashing of teeth.

I believe in a truth that this world is all we have. I believe that in our journey to be perfect and to have perfect things, we have exhausted our imaginations and our resources.

It’s easy to let it overwhelm.

But you do what we all do and keep going.

It’s easier to quench the thirst of a few than a few thousand, but if enough people decide to stop burning things to the ground, then we might have a chance to build something.

I guess, this piece is a little hard for me to write. For one, I don’t like to be super opinionated. I have many opinions and it’s okay to be opinionated. I also choose safety of space more than any opinion that I have. Because to be honest, mine have changed so much over the years, so I take them as I do a good book or a song. Rich and meaningful in certain seasons, but maybe shift into something else in another.

A few days ago I bought a bird feeder and put it on the clothesline outside my apartment.

It feels good to feed the smallest of things. Especially the ones that sing their songs so loud when the sun comes up.

That makes sense to me more than anything right now.

So, I start small feeding tiny things.

And then, I see that the world keeps moving.
This is how we put out fires within ourselves.
This is how we create small kinds of peace.

‘there are many forms of thirst, many kinds of water.’

 

the mystery of other worlds

Sometimes, when I look out into a room,
or when I sit at a table,
I imagine tiny universes
sorta, spinning around.

I see them give and take,
smile and nod and reach,
as though they are trying to understand another world
vastly different from their own.

I understand this.
At times, I am the one who helps facilitate.
I am the one who keeps their glasses full
and their plates warm with food.

It is not the burden of Atlas that I carry,
but the weightlessness that comes
with noticing the invisible things
and the gravity of a new discovery.

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I’ve always enjoyed space.
I love the mystery of other worlds,
which is why I love the mystery in you. As you.
This unknown galaxy swirling like the Milky Way

Don’t let this time go to waste.
You only have a few moments to be this connected
and to discover!
and to explore!

I remember watching the sun shine on your skin
How it glowed, and also its shadows,
the way it allowed me to stand in wonder
as I do always, when I stumble upon a world not my own,

a little universe
with its own fiery suns
as swirling stars.
there you are,

sitting and falling,
moving with intention,
all with a slight lean,
as different worlds do,

drifting into their own forever.

onward and upward

I feel kind of weird writing about this, because I suppose it’s not something I talk about a lot.

I remember listening to my friends and family who had been through separations from lengthy relationships saying, “Yeah, it took me about a year to start dating again…”

That felt real to me.

To be honest, I thought a year would never come, nor did I think I’d be ready to start down that path again.
So much has changed in my heart. What I want has shifted, as well as an entire world of options laid before me.

There were times where I did the online thing. I still dabble, every now and then.

Then I do the app thing on my phone.

Then that feels weird and I delete everything and feel ridiculous.

I have met some seriously amazing people. I’m more so encouraged that I have some decent social skills. Not that I doubted myself, but I was always so used to being in the background of a conversation rather than being the one initiating conversations myself.

That’s been something I’ve had to work on. Now, I find myself babbling at the person sitting across from me like I’ve been cooped up for years. I suppose I’ve always had a lot to say, but I prefer to listen than to talk in most scenarios.

I guess now is the time that I start pulling my head from under the sand a bit. I’m cautious. I’m sure I will be for quite some time. I don’t really know how to go about this.

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I put a lot of thought into these things because I haven’t seriously dated in like, well, a long long long time.
Being alone has its perks. I’ve learned what things drive me crazy with my own personal habits.

“Who’s been leaving their toothpaste crap in the sink!?”

This guy has.

So I’m a little more aware of my own actions.
I clean up well after myself, usually.
I’ve never had a problem with doing dishes.
I cook nice meals quite often.

Making my bed is a piece of cake, considering its tiny twin frame that only fits my whole body if I lay on my back.

Hear me out. This is not a cry for help or attention.

I am though, considering the motions of all this again. I feel rusty. Slowly gaining confidence of my appearance. In fact, I might just only be fitting into myself a little more every day.

I feel a little silly, so I will begin my conclusion.

Many circumstances are unfortunate. I have gobs and gobs of lovely and sweet things to be thankful for.
So begins this weird, and mostly liberating time of looking beyond that horizon I always think about.

I get a little nervous again.

I am excited for this forward momentum and what it means for the things going on in my tiny world.

As I say to myself and others quite often these days,

onward and upward

and I reckon’ it’s about that time.

you are awake now

I had a dream of all my failures.

I woke up pitted against myself with the reminder.
Now is not a good time,

I said to myself.

I stumbled down the hallway half awake to fill my glass with some water and thought,

I guess everything stops working, eventually. (Like I had figured out some deep, philosophical question.) Maybe I just needed to hear something true.

At this point, my dream was still fresh. I felt terribly broken and alone.
I thought about all the jobs I’d left. The people who have left me, and a lot of things in between.

I do not believe in energy wasted. I tell people this all the time. No matter what end, the things you put into forward motion are eventually transformed into something else.

As my day moved on, I was still a little hungover with things like regret and ‘I should haves’. I know better, I swear. But you know how dreams can move in and out. Sometimes they create little lies that reside in our subconscious. It is no fault of ours, except for the billions of electrical pulses creating tiny memories for us to wander in.

I was tired. It all felt a little too real. I guess maybe my defenses were down.

Then, there were the things that pulled me out of my own little war with myself.

Watching my nephew slurp down a chocolate milk.
Or even just seeing the weight carried by my family.

Waking up

I started to shake it off, as though I had grown some shell over my skin that was getting too tight and needed to be shed.

Failure is such a strong word. In the way a lot of words that we use to describe extremes. These days, I refuse to let words define personal circumstances and weigh me down. Call them what you will, but failure is only a word, and I really don’t have the space to have everything figured out.

I don’t have to know everything about myself.

I don’t have to know what or why all the time.
That is exhausting.

I felt a movement into myself. A dialogue. I needed to put those dreams to rest themselves:

you live today.
move in and out of your troubles,
like some rhythm in a song.

remember that sometimes, there are no grand finales,
remember that it is all like a tide, sometimes leaving you with an abundance,
and sometimes washing things away into a great wonder.

but it is no fault of yours that this happens, only it is what always happens in this world,
it is not against you, though some days, you find it hard to leave the comfort of your own space.

energy is absorbed and expelled, all the time.
some seasons we are given more than we need,
and sometimes, we are left with nothing.

let go of your need for power over everything,
because it’s obvious this will never, ever work.

instead, pay attention to the person sitting across from you,
and look them in the eyes and listen.

they are the truest reality

listen. let go. and keep moving.
listen. let go. and keep moving.

you are awake now.

listen.
let go.
keep moving.

 

Case #1403631

I am sitting next to a stapled packet of mind-numbing legal documents.

Stamps and notaries.

Looks like a big wonky passport, at times. A stamp. A scribble of someone’s name. A date.

I guess this is it.
Legally, the end of an agreement. No contest. Swept away almost as quickly as it came.

For some reason, the idea of a marriage being confined to a number feels a little haunting. Almost like branding cattle or some serial number on the bottom of your wireless router. But I suppose we are all numbers, aren’t we? We are statistics and I suppose I became part of a much larger one. Unlike the “men who go bald before they’re 30″ piece of pie in the chart that I assume is substantially smaller than the couples in their 20’s who realize it’s all for the better.

Hmph.

My last notary was finished yesterday, via UPS store by a woman named Pamela Anderson. Which was funny, because well, Pamela Anderson is known for a lot of things.

“So, whatcha need notarized??”

“Oh, just, these uh, name change papers for a divorce…just one little thing.”

“Huh, I’m sorry sweetie. Happened to me too! That’s why I’m here…”

She was shorter, with a tattoo sleeve that I couldn’t make out, dark curly hair. She was from Beaverton, OR. I thought that was funny. The only thing I could say was, “Oh yeah! Nice! There are some pretty good places to eat out there!”

We talked about missing good public transportation, and just living in a big city where things were always going on.

I paid my five dollars and walked back out into the muggy inferno that is July in Mississippi.

I just see a lot of fancy words.
A lot of them are confusing. A little over my head. I can’t imagine how people going through this much pain can stand to process the government jargon and hences and hereforeouts and stipulations.

Eventually, we are filed away into a cabinet, along with all the other ones that didn’t quite work out. Some, for the best. Others, tell a different story.

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There will come a time when I will forget what so much of this felt like. Thirty years from now I may read this, or some other youngin’ who is diving into a world of loss and heartbreak, and I will remember what that pain felt like, in my gut, and all over. I already brace myself from time to time, when I get that text from one of my family members saying, “I need you to call me.” or when I hear someone’s defeated tone. I brace myself for impact — for the inevitable and unexpected crack in the Earth when you least expect it.

Except today, I feel good today.

I had scrambled eggs and kale for breakfast.
Also, a steamy hot cup of PG Tips with just enough milk, that it only lightly scalded the back of my throat, which I do actually enjoy very much.

I put on a few episodes of “The Two Fat Ladies” and lost myself for a bit.

I always know where I am.
I’d like to say that I live my days with intention.

To be kind and understanding.
To carry about loads and loads of grace. For myself and for others who might misinterpret me understanding them.

I’m okay with being a number.
But only because I realize we are all more substantial than the numbers and stats and percentages that define us.

As for case #1403631…

There were a lot of things, like canning jams in the summer time.
Or passing out at Bagby hot springs,
roasted chickens,
conversations in the red Jetta (the good and the terrible)

and for the life of me,

I can’t remember a single day wasted.

 

you and me. (and everyone else)

We’ve been hit pretty hard at work lately.
The mix of a new publication and a three page spread of a certain meatloaf sandwich we make. Hey man, people love their meatloaf.

I have looked around at the faces of my co-workers, dazed and exhausted. Stretched a bit too thin, but they’re good, I tell ya. Good.

In my own body, I am tired as well.
I don’t seem to get as frazzled as I used to. Even when there is water above my eyes, I can’t think of any reason to feel any less of myself. This hasn’t come from working in the food industry. I mean, sure. The longer you work in the mess of trenches and the rows of tables and chairs, it can be an overextension of one’s soul. Enough to want to make you hide in the bathroom or the walk-in for fear of another human being’s response.

But then there is something deeper to it. For me, at least.

I find myself laughing a lot. And smiling. Understanding. Listening.

Maybe it’s some sort of mechanism I’ve developed over this past year where I say in my head, “Pfft. This is nothing.” And really, the rush will pass. All things will pass.

I had reached a point at one gig, where I just lost it. I went into the bathroom and called Hannah in tears saying, “I can’t do it anymore. It’s just too much.”

It was a combination of a lot of unhealthy things. I realized if I wanted to make it in this industry, I’d have to start making it work for me. So, I just let go.

And this is where something deeper started to take place. Out of all the rough things I’ve endured in the most recent past, there has been nothing worse than sitting on the floor of my old apartment, weeping at such a huge loss. My heart was at its lowest point, and I think often when older companions lose each other, it’s only a matter of time before the other starts to let go.

The heart can only take so much. It is a muscle. Like any muscle that cycles through its daily motion, it will tire. At some point, it will let go.

So, like rough days on the line, or running food: you sink, or you swim.

And there is an ebb and flow to sinking and swimming. There are seasons where it feels good to fight, and others where you have to submit for a while.

I revert back to myself sitting on the floor with no energy. No hope. Nothing else to say. A pain in my chest and a belly that was sick of everything. Since then, I have worked myself back up into something decently recognizable, I think. Presentable. Able to push my shoulders back and walk with meaning.

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It is quiet, where I live. So handling customers is sometimes a welcomed experience. I like the challenge of handling a person, as often times restaurants can be intimidating places to go. But to make someone laugh, or give them the space to get what they really want. Sometimes that feels like a gift.

It’s something I can give them. It’s something I have power over, but not in the way that should make you feel threatened. There is something important about communicating needs and desires. I think good communication relies on both sides making non-threatening words, and putting them together in such a way that disarms. Too often I found myself defensive. I found myself making it about me all the damn time.

And then I just let go of it.

I let go of my desire to be understood, and worked more at understanding. (I believe there is a St. Francis prayer there somewhere..)

My energy has shifted. I get to put it in places where I’ve needed it the most. Connecting with people. And that allows me to not be so afraid. You learn everyone is battling their own wars, both inside and out of their bodies. I meet that with grace, you see?

And I do it in hopes that I get it back in return.

I think this is one of those things that might change the world. Starting small, and to not threaten each other all the time with our rightness or needing to prove that we are loved and important.

We have value. And we have these tools that build up over the years, like your grandpa’s shed. We learn better how to loosen and tighten. Those big problems become smaller problems.

“Ah,” you think to yourself. “That’ll be good in no time.”

or

“Well, this one might take some time.”

And you will see better on both sides, that it’s not about winning or losing an interaction. It is about sustaining a goodness, for yourself and your community. I wish everyone could see inside themselves the things I’ve been able to see in myself.

That goodness is a simple luxury. That good communication can take time to build, but that it is most important when building up the Beloved.

I talk about the Beloved a lot. And really what I mean is humanity.

Made from the stuff of our mothers and fathers, mixed with wonder, and grown into things that have the potential of loving another.

That is what I believe in the most.

you.

and me.

and everyone else.

that’s what I really want.

 

magic.

I believe in magic.
Not the Harry Potter kind of stuff, though I’d argue to say, and others too might point out that magic is different than witchcraft and wizardry.

Oh goodness, I’m off to a great start already.

I suppose I should specify, or give you some clarity before you start thinking I’m crazy. Or, you can think I’m crazy. I’d like to think I’m showing significant signs of deviance from the norm — at least in my own head.

What I’d like to say, is that I believe in the process of creating.

I believe that there is something in each person that I’d like to call magic. For reasons I can’t explain, and you can’t explain, you’re just good at it. The mix of sub-conscious and motor memory and creativity. Also things like experience and passion and hard work.

I suppose you could just call it that, and walk away thinking that what you do isn’t that cool. And maybe it isn’t. But maybe there is this one thing that you can’t explain, but you just do it really well.

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I watched a movie last night called, “The Lunchbox”.
Anytime I can snag a non-Bollywood movie that takes place in India, I’m usually all over it. There’s nothing wrong with Bollywood because truthfully, there is PLENTY of magic involved.

This was a movie about food and mistakes and how they say, ‘the wrong train can lead you to the right station.’

But there was a line in the movie that was far more substantial. Two of the main characters were talking about a tiny restaurant closing, mistaking one of the cooks as the woman who had been sending this man his lunch. “There’s no place for talent in this country…”

While the other says, stuffing tikka masala into his mouth, “Everyone can cook, but there must be magic.

So, as the aspiring pseudo-chef in me loved to hear this, I started to think about it.
There are times, when I’ve found myself cooking for people and myself, and I think, “How did this happen?”

I mean, of course. You learn how to build flavors. You learn how to taste. You learn how to put things together and heat them up or cool them down.

But then, when you are sitting down at a table with another person and hear them moan, “Mmm.” And you all just sit around and eat and eat and drink.

That to me, is magic.

The ability to create something that is bigger than the sum of its parts.

magic.

The same goes for whatever your hand or body chooses to create. The invisible presence that circulates in a room — the ideas that were put in your head and the execution of it all.

Maybe I’m being dramatic and romanticizing a thing too much. I’ve been known to do such things, as y’all are well aware. But even at this here blog, I get to create and write and explore. Quite often, I look back at the things I’ve been able to write and wonder where it came from. Certainly some dark places, but also from a place that holds a great light.

What I hope, is that you consider the invisible presence of wonder.

That little bit extra.

The butter or a song at just the right moment.

Not one extra grain of salt.

And the presence of the Beloved,

 

nothing short of magic. 

a letter to July

You and I need to have some words.

And believe me, I think you’re a terrific month. You are the essence of summertime. I think of red popsicles and swimming pools and thick green grass. I think about heat and afternoon thunderstorms and staying up late and waking up even later.

I remember sitting on the Hawthorne bridge a year ago, watching the fireworks on July 4th. I remember hugging you, and started to sense that things were changing inside of the frame that was sitting next to me. It was a couple of weeks after that you told me you didn’t want to be married anymore.

So, I bring all that here, as I do from time to time.
I hit these weird milestones with all of this, like some sort of pill in my belly releasing every so often.

I don’t mean to. Trust me. I’d love to be writing about food more or exploring some other part of life. I wish I could write a step by step piece on breaking down a chicken and making coq au vin. Maybe one day I will get there.

Today though, I am processing a love, a love lost and a certain time when things started shaking into pieces.

I’ve found writing to be one of my most important ways of remembering, and filing things away. Not like some cabinet, where you keep receipts and old forms. It’s more like something I can see. I pick them up and look at them from time to time. I think locking them away with everything else does more harm than good to me at this point. But it’s important for me to put places with people and remember how I felt. I will lose some of those things over the years, but I think it’s important to give them their light, from time to time.

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July, you were a month that sent my world crashing into itself.
There were days I felt so alive.
Days that I wanted to let go of it all, including my own life.

I didn’t want to deal with any of it, which was unlike me at the time.

I realize, this isn’t your fault, as a month and general point in our calendar year. But I am living in your days, once again and as a person who remembers, I carry your weight. July looks a lot different in my new reality. Well, sort of new reality. I still have wood floors, and it’s warm outside. I am 2,400 miles in a different direction. South.

Very South.

Summer in the ‘very South’ is different than a Portland summer; shocking, I know! It’s not that I forgot about how hot Mississippi summers are, I’ve just been indulging in the cooler side of things for the past five years. The heat seems oppressing at times. Steamy. Bright. Relentless. It’s summer in the South.

The weather is just an indicator of my change of place. That’s all.

I realize there are lots of other people going through changes, too.
I come now to recognize the importance of time.

My friend Jen in Portland would reach out to me from time to time to gift me with little nuggets of wisdom from her own past. I think I felt a little responsible in ways for bringing some old things back into the light, but without the wisdom from other people, I would have been drifting further away from myself, I think.

“As much as you don’t want to hear this right now, time will heal.”

Because to be honest, I didn’t want to hear that. I wanted someone to tell me it was a dream, and not the reality I was struggling to grasp.

But she was right.
Time is also that thing in my belly. Sometimes it feels like waves washing over a sharp rock, and over time, dulling its edge. I always like to refer to time and geology as a metaphor for how it smooths out the sharp bits.

I must also submit to love. The amount of love and time gave way to great amounts of healing. Though I was by myself through a lot of those terrible nights, I had a lot of love on my side. And she did too.

So, July.

Hmph.
I didn’t watch fireworks. I was too tired, and fell asleep watching the Walking Dead. There was no one to kiss, or sit close to.

But I slowly dissolved into myself.
Like salt into water.

Realizing certain seasons are meant to bring us in and draw us out.

Like the tide,
washing over the edges,
turning what was once sharp, to smooth;

and leaving behind something entirely different.

It’s amazing what a little time can do.

 

 

how it could be

I believe we are at the cusp of something big and powerful.

Usually when it gets late, the mystic in me comes out a bit, and I’m okay with that. Or maybe I’m just tired and loopy.

I recently read a quote by Thoreau that said,

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

I have grown to love and learn different things in different seasons. In college, I had a heart for justice. I was heavily convicted as a son to the very conflicted Deep South. Over the years, I have had to defend the place I love and call home. I’ve had to tiptoe around its delicate nature, and also brush off the accusations and the fact that no, I do not sound like a hick. Even if I did, how does that change your opinion?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. I work on the same streets where freedom riders and walkers, preachers and teachers and mechanics pushed forward, and where they were also met with opposition. I am always carrying around this history. There is so so much to all of this, and I always want to approach it with humility. I guess there are hundreds of books written on the subject, so I will spare you the essay, and will try to not make this about me. But it is a blog, so I guess that’s a little counter-productive.

There is a weight to changing anything, really. Apathy is debilitating. It knocks the wind out of me. Oh, it’s just so much easier to work for someone else and continue living your life in a relative amount of safety. Trust me, I love that life. And I’m not here writing to make you feel guilty about yours.

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This city, especially, gave me so much. It gave me room to explore and breathe fire. I feel like I owe something back.

Going back to the quote from earlier, I settle into myself for a bit. I like to close my eyes and remember the places I’ve been and how they’ve changed me.

I think about how marriage and being a husband made me soft and squishy. It made me love another fiercely and gave me something to devote my life to.
Before that, I was putting some time into various organizations that I thought were doing good. I traveled to India and Chicago and they both knocked me flat on my face.

Any effort I have had to change the world has resulted in me falling on my ass, and scratching my chin, and probably my ass, too. Most of the time saying, What do I really believe anymore?”

It’s really easy to get consumed with facts and failure rates. But lately, I can’t think of any life changing occurrence that didn’t leave me feeling stronger than before. When you’re met with resistance and pain and failure, the only real thing to learn is that you are still alive and able to move on!

Bigger and brighter and wiser and stronger.

So I have that hope, deep deep down.
That it is possible to change — I mean, thank God we change. Right?

And we just need you, okay?

We need you to be brave and hold loosely.

We need you, screw ups and wandering souls who from time to time smoke too many cigarettes.

We need food for the revolution.

I can at least do that much.

But this isn’t something you will see in the paper. It starts small, and to be honest, sort of stays that way. But when a lot of people do small things together, things happen, and are already happening. That is when it becomes part of our daily lives. How we treat our butcher. How we buy our food. What our kids get to learn, and that we shouldn’t have to be afraid of our bosses.

There is a part of me already doubting. I already recognize the voices that tell me, and my generation are a waste. But really, part of it comes from watching you.

And before we get too comfortable with the way things are,

just for a minute, we like to imagine how it could be.

Because the price of anything, is the life you exchange for it.

pork ragu

Food is a lot of things to a lot of people.

Survival. Entertainment. Money. Community. Romance. Nourishment. Celebration.

I suppose if I’m honest, I dabble in all of those things.
If I’m not careful, I could go on and on and bore you to death. I will try not to do that today, but I’ve been wanting to process some stuff for myself.

When I get to cook, I get to explore a place and a people and I also explore my own story. So much of cooking for me now is motor and sensory memory. I know how to chop onions and taste for salt and balance a dish. What I love more than getting to cook, is to sip on something nice and process chunks of life.

This past week, I cooked dinner for a friend’s birthday. He’s been great in letting me have the freedom to do whatever, and it’s been so good for me to create and explore and to feed people who really love to eat.

pork ragu. 

It was all I could really think about. Pork something, at least.

So we went out and bought a big pork shoulder and the ingredients to make said dish. Growing up in my world, ragu came in a glass jar and tasted like spaghetti sauce. That was until I started to learn more about food and realized it is much more complex, and deeply satisfying. Even just hearing the world ragu gets my mouth all tingly.

The air conditioning was down, but I told him I liked it hot in the kitchen. Feels right to sweat a bit when you’re cookin’.

After I deboned the shoulder, I cut it up into pieces. Dried said pieces with a paper towel and seasoned them liberally with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Brown them with a little bit of oil in a stew pot. I mean, get some nice color and caramelization on those babies. Work in smallish batches so you don’t cool the pan off too much.

Once all the meat is seared off, I add the onions. I let them cook down a bit, and I use their water to scrape those brown bits off the bottom of the pot. (That’s where some magic is.)

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This is not my actual ragu, but it looked just like it. Come on, you know you want this for dinner now.

Then the diced carrots and celery. Ya know, the basics of starting a proper stew.

About four minced cloves of garlic pulverized into a paste. Throw that into the pot and let it smell up your house for a second.

Throw in your meat, along with a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and oregano. Go ahead and throw in a bay leaf too, if you have one.

Now you start adding the sexy reds. tomato and red wine. oh gah!

We had some special tomatoes for our ragu. It was my buddy’s last jars of his granddaddy’s tomatoes, who has recently passed away. They were tangy and rich and perfect. Add about a cup of red wine, and enough water to cover the top of the meat. Toss in some more salt and pepper, and let it go low and slow, simmering for about an hour and a half.

I found some mushrooms, so I decided to throw them in there as well, because, umami.

By now, this pot of bubbling stuff just looks right. If it looks right, it probably tastes right. Unless you accidentally use salt instead of sugar for a gorgeous apple pie, which has happened to me before.

Anyways, the meat should be tender enough that you can shred it with forks, because that’s what you’ll need to do, eventually. The liquid should also be reduced by at least half. Be careful on adding salt though, because as it bubbles away, the more it reduces, the more it is concentrated. You can always dilute with more water or stock, but just keep tasting and you’ll be fine. At this point, once your ragu is done, and after the pork is shredded, you can add in some greens if you like. I used kale, and tossed it in and let cook for another five minutes.

Cook up some pasta a bit al dente. Reserve at least a half cup of your pasta water (that I presume you have salted a bit) so you can use its starch to help coat the pasta as you toss it with the ragu. Use butter, too. Adds some extra sheen to the over all dish. Add your preferred ratio of ragu to pasta, and toss, plate and serve. Grate some good hard cheese on top, too.

Yeah. Seriously.
Oof. Delicious, hearty and personal.

I think, one of those soul dishes for me. It’s how I like to eat.

Perhaps I am just an old soul, and I’m okay with that.

I like these dishes because they take a little time. They remind me that there’s a process to things, and that an extra ten minutes can change something from being good, to great.

I suppose I needed that. Some reassurance that time has the ability to transform and nourish. When I get ahead of myself, that’s when I cut corners. If I’m honest, I cannot allow myself to cut any more corners. I crave to live my life with intention, and the same goes for how I cook.

Slow and steady. At times, hard and fast.

But all having their place, especially in my little world, where a simple dish can change the outcome of an entire day.

And I never want to lose that.