Thursday, August 11, 2011

Totally not about food

It has been a little weird around here lately.

I've cooked. I've written. I've had family over. I went for a hot-air balloon ride (see pictures!). I have spent hours upon hours reading books like, Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I have wasted even more hours reading blogs and cookbooks and then making up a recipe only to find I really should have listened to the recipe(s). I am such an amateur, in the real, awkward, flailing, love-struck sense of the word.

OK. It hasn't been that weird. I do the same old thing, and it just does not feel right, like my skin is all bunched up around my neck.

Then this morning I went for a walk. (I hardly ever walk. It takes too long.) I have been stalking these Turkey Vultures that nest in a sycamore tree a couple blocks away. I run past them almost every morning, and as I approach I know their there, huge hulking birds, hunched and quiet and really quite eerie. When I run east I can't see them until I have already passed them because the sun or the lamplight gets in the way. So I turn around and run backwards once I'm a few strides east of the tree. I look up, squint, and pray they are there again.

I don't know why I am so attached to these ridiculous, carrion-eating birds, but their living seems like such a morbid gift to the world. I saw one yesterday in a freshly plowed field, eating something. I have never seen this before. I see them soaring on the thermal winds, swooping for a closer look at me, gathered for a powwow on a random back road, or perched in the local sycamore tree. But I have never seen one eating. Suddenly I feel so alive!

Kevin looked at me sideways the other day when I got equally as giddy at the sight of a Red-tailed Hawk eating some small animal on a telephone post. He laughed. And then he said, a little seriously, "You are really morbid, you know." And then he laughed again.

Maybe I am. I am fascinated by birds of prey, meat eaters, death eaters. The Turkey Vulture fixation, however, is not all morbidity and drama. Though said bird is a symbol of fear or death on one hand (especially in dream interpretation), in traditional culture symbolism, like Native American and Mayan, the buzzard was and is a symbol of renewal and cleansing, of life revived because they have the ability to consume death and live from it.

I know. Amazing, life-changing, renewing. Now you understand.

The walk this morning did not change much initially. I found a million feathers, which I never find, and I even found an owl pellet, which is also morbid and gross to be talking about regurgitated food on a 'Food Blog' (but lets get real here, life is not all about food), but I still came home grumpy and bored to tears.

But something must have happened, slowly. Something good. I called a friend, and she was wise and insightful as friends should be, and Cedar was compliant as a good child should be, sat in his stroller while I talked on the phone and pushed him around the cemetery (another morbid fun-fact: I love cemeteries--they are pretty, tree-filled, and quiet, and I love that one is in my back yard). My friend spoke the obvious. She spoke the truth. And she talked me down out of the tree-house of weirdness where I've been weirding out and watching people live their lives.

Buzzards, by the way, are known for their "Heraltic Pose," their collective greeting of the sun as it rises to a certain point in the morning sky. They spread their wings and pause there, posing, their own birdie version of a sun-salute. There are a few disputed reasons for this. Most say the birds are drying off and warming up the night of moisture and lowered internal temperature (to conserve energy). Others claim they are testing the winds pre-flight (yup, to conserve energy). But I like the idea that they are cleansing themselves, burning off with a morning fire the impurities of the day before.

That is what I want to do--burn off the impurities of days prior, burn off even this morning, conserve my energy like the vultures do, and soar on the thermals of warm, rising air, convert death to life.


  1. Lisa Here...
    You are always so inspiring and insightful! Thank you for writing, it infuses hope and creativity within this world which we can mundanely live!

  2. Ah, I'm so glad to be friends with you, Sister, in real life. But even if we had not just had a lovely evening out on the town, reading this blog is almost as wonderful as being with you. What delightful reflection, even if it's not really about food.

  3. i'm so glad you shook off the weirdness. it's great to read your writing again. still thinking of you and the too-brief visit we had this winter!