In search of story


July 25.22: Coping, but barely

A garden in a kettle,

what enticement to know more;

no ordinary flowerpot

hints so of family lore.

Kettles are like aprons,

remnants, scraps and shreds

of kitchens gone to dust

except inside our heads.

Replaced by kitchen jewelry

gleaming, digitized,

its plump and stolid air

is yet unbowdlerized.

Something in its roundness

brings noodle dough to mind,

vegetable soup with barley,

doughnuts cinnamon-brined,

children up on tip-toe

to watch and sniff, content,

the world in proper order

as it was surely meant.

Today its storied depths

give rise to happy greenery,

rooted, like our memories,

in distant kitchen scenery.



More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to gardener and family preservationist D.J. Berg.



September 10.20: Coping

The recipe,

that work of art,

bequeathed from bubbling

kitchen heart,

with stain and splot

of ancient dough,

bringing to Now

the Long-ago.

Penmanship of

floured hand,

preserved on paper

less than grand,

thus creating

choice giftwrap

of what was once

a lowly scrap.



More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to Rose Schloot, owner of Cross River Lodge,

Grand Marais, Minnesota,

where this eloquent old piece of the past is displayed.




Connections: December 12.17

My last two kitchens had islands

the ultimate luxury

the kitchen I live with now

is bestowed more modestly.

So I follow the ways of my grandmas

and my mother, apt and able,

enlisting our four-legged friend,

the enduring kitchen table.

But I have a homey bauble

with which they weren’t stuck

a low-hanging ceiling lamp

which I cannot remember to duck.

Hovering over the table

at just the exact right spot

it clunks against my head

and elicits descriptive bon mot.

Some day I’ll explain to my neighbors

the reverberant mystery

the gong heard ’round the ‘hood

it isn’t Big Ben — it’s me.


Yes, I know, dear reader. I took liberties with my French. It was too awful not to use.



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The bridge

Those of you who have memorized my blog know that we are going into my preferred half of the year. I love pulling in and closing off. I am by nature a plodder and these coming months of inner dwelling are therapeutic; plodders like me need the down time to recover from the frenetics of summer. So I savor the time on this bridge to winter.

Except for the melancholy in the garden. Cutting back, digging up, harvesting. Divesting my world of color. Snapping the brittle that once was soft-greened. Thumbing through shriveled petals for seeds like little black tears. Rattling the maraca pods. Fluffing the dried leaves, pillow-like. Tucking in for the long winter’s nap. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe gardener’s autumn has its grey reveries.

But it also has its lively side. And that would be in the kitchen.

All miscellaneous pitchers, glasses, and vases are called to duty, giving the cut-backs a last moment of glory, a blazing curtain call amid lumps of towels and other kitchen flotsam.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA A transient rose window fashioned by a mystic guild, it transforms this everyday workspace with its vibrant farewell.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

The drying center cannot boast of such color except in promise. Brown, grey, and black belie the palette within. Rudbeckia, nasturtium, and zinnia seeds rest in old china, a tea box, and two mid-century Girl Scout projects. Begonia tubers rest in lunch bags. Herbs and granddaughter’s potholders in artistic suspension over all. Baking supplies fight for space, reminders of breads and cookies interrupted.SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I bundle lavender and thyme, floating on their breath, in the midst of this eloquent mess, the seeds speaking of what will be, the cut flowers of what has been. With all gardeners, I marvel.