Endlessly delightful: flowers that bravely square themselves off, resolutely point themselves toward scorching sun and withering salt, and bloom with such equanimity you might think them at home in an English garden. These are the faces of delicate white morning glories, looking into the overcast skies of the southern Atlantic this morning. They are a fit metaphor for a person facing chronic pain armed with a good combination of stoicism and pharmacology, though the metaphor breaks down as the person walks determinedly into the northeast wind. His is not to simply survive, as morning glories must; his is to set aside pain and keep walking, keep walking, keep walking. His is to find joy at every turn, as often as he can.
Have you ever been in a hospital on some occasion of pain or worry or fear or uncertainty? If you have, you may also have found yourself in the L&D "baby gallery", looking at tiny miracles brought to life by people you don't even know, moved to a smile or perhaps that tightness behind your eyes where tears dwell. For here is hope. Here is the future. This morning is not so different, as you dear, patient readers have heard from me so often this summer; it is not so different here this year, as turtles nest in breathtaking numbers. There is no glass-walled nursery into which we can peer for comfort, but hope prevails: here is the future.
My old teacher (she of honored memory in this blog, Sister Patricia Eileen) used to remind us that the face of Christ is to be seen in every person we meet. The "Christ" part is a matter of spiritual or theological nomenclature, in my opinion: one might refer to the face of the Buddha, the face of the Goddess, the face of the Great Spirit...in the end it all means the same thing, which is that we look into that which is Sacred when we look into the faces of our sisters and brothers. This is not always easy. It is seldom uncomplicated. But it's there. My dear old person shows me the face of that which is holy every day, and some days I am actually able to see it.
For today, it was enough to walk along the beach, taking note of the still-increasing numbers of sea turtle nests (we saw N 143 today), watching the clouds rolling out of the dark sky to the northeast, grateful for the glimpses of that which is Sacred in the sea, the wind and the small cold drops of rain that found our faces now and then.
At home, a meal came together.
If you have a gas grill here's how to make nice tender baby back ribs. (If you're a serious cook, or heaven forbid, a serious Grill Cook, you can skip this part as it will only make you laugh.) Unless you have lots of time to slow-cook ribs, this always works. Season them with salt and pepper and cook in a slow oven over a pan of water. If you have a nice gas grill you can use like an oven, do it there. Tonight I put two racks of ribs on the grill with no direct heat, cooking over a pan of water. After about 2 hours, perhaps less, put the ribs over direct heat to finish them with a nice crisping. If you have a sauce everyone agrees on, you can baste the ribs with it throughout the cooking process and certainly at the end of the process. If not, finish the ribs in individual servings to taste.
We made mashed potates in the usual way. Dylan is a master of this art, but he asked me to consult when he was nearly done: they tasted flat to him; I tasted and agreed. I tossed in a half teaspoon of kosher salt, a dash of good old Texas Pete and a big tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Dylan whipped them up and we all agreed that mashed potato-ness really can be next to godliness. We have tasted it for ourselves.
A simple salad finished things off, fresh garden greens, toasted almonds or pecans, golden raisins and virtually no salad dressing. The fridge died earlier this week and was beautifully and sadly cleaned out. Beloved jars of things like tahini dressing and the dregs of pickled okra were among the victims. Still, it managed to be, as one Friend of the Blog would say, "Fit to eat". And so we are grateful, my dears.