Saturday, November 29, 2008
DIVINE IMAGE...OR SHOWER PEEPER?
It's been an exhausting couple of days. First there was Thanksgiving—the Roasting of the Bird, all twenty-two pounds of his fat, stuffed carcass, plus making oyster and non-oyster dressing (gotta please everyone), pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries (open can, dump contents, stir up so they don't look like the can) and everything else that goes onto our particular "classic feast" table. This year, we interrupted our cooking to partake of a medium-sized kitchen fire, when too much dressing overflowed too little baking dish and a sheet of flames four-feet high and oven-wide lashed out like an infuriated dragon, trying its best to burn the cottage down. While others in our midst leaped frantically about shrieking like lunatics, I calmly threw about two pounds of kosher salt on the base of the flames until the blaze was out, whereupon we all set to opening windows to allow the thick black smoke to exit the house and puzzle our neighbors. Moon the dog actually sat in the hall and sobbed—I've never in my life heard anything like it come from a dog. Obviously, we all handle distress in our own peculiar way. There is, however, nothing like a good kitchen fire to whet the appetite...and once the residual soot and salt aftermath had been cleaned up, we sat down to our groaning table, said a heartfelt grace, and ate with uncommon gusto. Guilt and blame for the fire, along with certain recriminations and threats, denials, and brief tantrums, and not a few smart-alec remarks peppered our mealtime conversation. All in all, a fine day of modest infamy and tasty turkey. Yesterday was, by comparison, quiet and more relaxed. A tiny amount of work gathering a stick or two of driftwood from the river's edge near the cottage; tossing a few stones up onto the bank for later building projects; dragging the first of the Christmas decorations from the attic; a bit of writing and puttering in my work room. Breakfast, which didn't occur until midmorning, and took place before the fireplace and a crackling blaze, was leftovers (better the second time around than the first!) as was a late-afternoon lunch (thirds tasting just as good!); supper was late and light, a bit of cheese and a glass of wine. Okay, two glasses of wine. Today I have crashed... No energy. No desire to do anything more than read, snooze, and emulate a member of the vegetable kingdom. And no, it wasn't all that turkey and leftovers, and those two glasses of wine...or maybe it was. But I'm content in my lassitude, at one with my torpor. Sometimes rest is as good a way to spend a day as any requiring busy vigor. On the other hand, my morning shower has taught me a necessary lesson—I herewith promise I'm never again going to doubt or make fun of those folks who claim see religious images in the most mundane objects and places. Indeed...I have joined their ranks. This very morning, as I finished my shower and, in my soapy, dripping nudity just happened to look down, I saw something—gremlin, imp, brownie, leprechaun, or soggy sprite, looking back at me from the wadded washcloth I'd tossed casually and with no artistic forethought, into the corner of the bathtub. Egads! After recovering from my initial shock, I plucked my cell phone from the nearby counter and took a shot. You tell me...is this Our Lady of the Washrag? The Terrycloth Troll? Divine, secular, good, evil, imagined, or pure kismet? Or have I simply been holed up in my riverbank cottage too long. I await your thoughtful replies. Meanwhile...a slice of pumpkin pie beckons.