A recipe

In a pressure cooker, add 1 cup of red lentils and three cups of water. Or however much you like. Tighten the lid, and cook for 12 minutes. Or however long you like.

Aside, chop cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, and tempeh (or…need I say it? Whatever veggies you like). Lightly fry them in a cast iron skillet, in avocado oil and water.

When lentils finish, release the steam, or wait until it releases naturally (I’m impatient, and at this point, have rowdy babes begging wildly for food – I opt for quick release 9 times out of 10). Add loose leaves of arugula, and set the lid over top until the greens have steamed.

Next, to the pot, add coconut oil, hemp oil, sauces of choice…Tonight, it was roasted pepper soup. Sometimes a curry sauce, others, plain old vegetable or mushroom broth does fine. Toss in sautéed vegetable matter and sprinkle with sea salt, fennel seeds, cumin, ground ginger, Italian seasoning…

Stir, serve and savor the warmth of winter.

Snowfall

Winter lends itself to reverie. Blankets of snow mute the colors of the world and dampen the senses. White flurries fall while I sleep, and my youngest, the Snow Princess, awakes, toddles to the bedroom door, babbling half-coherently at me until I awake and follow.

The border between wakefulness and dreams blurs, weaving into each other in ways that are hard to follow. Amused and enamored, I mumble to the Snow Princess, “You’ve convinced me.” Of what, I’m not certain. Something to do with her beauty, her strength, and her delight. I crave the cozy cavern of deep sleep, but she sparkles in the moonlight and insists that I come play.

I resist until the very end, fighting her like I’m the babe, and she my mother. “It’s time to sleep,” I moan at her. But still, here we are in the room between rooms, the room named for Frigga, Odin’s wife, goddess of the hearth and spindle, dreams and psychic power. The hour strikes 3.

We walk circles together, drink cool water, and pour bits of kibble for the wakeful kitten perched quietly at our feet. I imagine a story unfolding, conflicting arising, and then untangling. Around and around, like a drop spindle. I’m still so new, sometimes the wool tears away in my fingers, or the yarn gets caught up in itself. I’m still so new, sometimes I give in to the frustration. Never for long.

Quiet peace descends. Sprawled across my lap, the Snow Princess sleeps, warm white liquid pouring a somnolent potion from my breast into her mouth. We sit there for a another long moment before I rise and carry the both of us back to bed.

Transgression.

Our local public library has a little bookshop outside it’s doors, where patrons can buy books discontinued from the library’s shelves for just a dollar or two a book.

Yesterday, I found myself perusing the selection, looking for something I could turn into a scrapbook. I wanted something with a solid cover and binding, with room for plenty of pictures, pieces of paper and random paraphernalia. I want it to be nice and scrappy, and I want it to last.

I found the perfect fit, in a Good Housekeeping Cookbook from the early 2000s. Hardcover, ring binding, plenty of room to grow. I brought it to the counter and greeted the clerk, ready to pay. As I’m pulling out my $2, she says, half-jokingly, “Now you’ve got to cook.”

Even though moments before, I had been feeling delightfully transgressive for selecting a book without ever using it as it was intended to be used, I tell her. I say, “Actually, it’s going to become a scrapbook.”

To that, she only says, “Oh.” How she feels about my response is indiscernible from my view. Is she crestfallen? Disgusted? Confused? I’m not sure – but she certainly wasn’t delighted, or even curious. She tells me to have a good day.

Today, I find myself thinking about the word “transgression.” It has a heavily negative connotation in common discourse, equated with rule-breaking and crime. But etymologically, to “transgress” simply means to “cross over.” What then, is the true crime of transgression? It’s possessing the gall to step over the boundaries of sanctioned living and enter the realm of the Unknown. It’s reading the instruction manual, passed down through generations, and choosing to do things differently anyways.

Instruction manuals are reliable, but they’re also rather boring. Sometimes, the companion of such a manual is a comfort, but most days, I’d rather toss it in the fire.