hunger

It is another gorgeous crisp morning on the trail and the sun beckons.

P1120938 Walking faster than usual I note how my pace matches the whirlwind week behind me. With my house now under agreement and the place I had my heart set on to buy no longer available, I need to find a new home. Ben and I have visited over a dozen properties in three days with my agent. This involved many meals on the road and even one dinner of just chunks of cold salmon eaten too late while standing at the kitchen counter. By the time Ben left yesterday I realized how truly hungry I had become. Hungry for food, for nourishment, for comfort, for resolution.

It was still only late afternoon. I opened a bottle of deliciously dry red wine and began to mince garlic. A lot of it, three good size cloves. I needed something hearty and filling, found the half used box of fettucine and a can of (organic) black beans in the cupboard, a bunch of fresh kale in the fridge, and some lemons. Garlic went to into a saucepan with some olive oil over medium heat, pot of water for the pasta is set on stove to boil, and spines were removed from the kale leaves, then chopped and added to a third pan with a bit of oil and water to slow sauté. Added half the can of the beans in their liquid to the garlic with a splash of the wine and turned fire to low. While the beans simmered and pasta cooked, finished sautéing the kale, turned off fire, and added the juice of a squeezed lemon. Then turned the fire off under the beans and added about a tablespoon of butter to the mixture. The contents of the three pans were layered in my favorite blue bowl, mixed together, and joined by a glass of the wine.

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I ate it all, every last garlicky, creamy, lemony, chewy bite, and felt my body absorb the light and energy I needed before heading into the night.

Lost in my reverie, I realize we have headed up the trail far beyond my usual turning back point and know we will now continue all the way to Mt. Orient this morning. Noticing the clear air and deep contrasts between light and dark, I am hungry now for the view that awaits me. And of course it is not at all as I expected.

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What a sight to see the valley covered with a thick white veil as the sun kisses the tops of trees at eye level. It is as if there are two clear worlds. Out here sitting on this ledge it always feels the same, stable and forever. But under that veil life is always changing and shifting and moving in unexpected ways. At rest now, perspiration from the fast pace emerges, bathing my skin and my countenance with the fruit of my effort. It has been such a long summer of waiting and hoping and reckoning with my hunger for a new way of life. Eyes closed now, gaze turned inward, a big comforting sigh comes.

Not five minutes into the descent does my hunger reawaken and remind me that I have had nothing at all to eat since my early supper yesterday of pasta and creamy garlicky beans. It is a sharp hunger now, localized in my stomach. It is a pleasant hunger, not the kind that signals a low blood sugar drop and the feeling of panic that sometimes comes when body chemistry is out of balance. No, this hunger is the kind that enlivens the senses and creates anticipation. It begs the question, what is under the veil today?  The contrast between light and dark and green moving back down into life this morning also accentuates the feeling that there is nothing predictable or even stable about this business of finding a new home.

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The light is there for a time, illuminating the potential just long enough to engage and follow a certain path. Not unlike the waxing and waning of hunger, the light eventually goes away and something in the dark presents a challenge to negotiate with before the light comes back. The nourishment of green heartfelt living things around me sustains.  The visceral hunger I feel right now is good. It keeps me alert and moving forward and willing to do the work that must be done to recognize and establish where this new home can be…

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