Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lost and Found

Scrabbling among the cookbooks this morning, looking for something else, I pulled out a folded newspaper insert of cookie recipes. As I refolded it to place it back on the bookshelf, a stained and well-worn oversize index card slipped out from the folds.

I held it up to Warren. "Ah! Look what I found."

My grandmother's popcorn ball recipe.

The card slipped back into my life at a good juncture. Good as in "I needed that." I am coming off several intense days: intense activities, intense work, intense travels, intense interactions. Most of them good, mind you, but intense all the same. Warren is in his own intense period: an upcoming blockbuster concert, a flurry of grant applications coming due, the general press of the Symphony even when there isn't a blockbuster concert in four weeks. It has been so grueling that I often feel by the end of the day as if we have been thrown up on shore after hours in a heavy surf, exhausted and beaten by the cold water and grateful beyond words just to be alive.  

In the middle of this intensity, we packed in a trip (intense) to New York so Warren could attend the midwinter managers meeting of the League of American Orchestras. (Yes, it was intense.) In past years, I would split my time between friends, all of them dear to me, making trips into the city to see them. This year, I spent all of my free time with my longtime friend Katrina. 

Both Katrina and I have been experiencing intensely tumultuous personal times, and both of us had been looking forward for weeks to seeing one another. As Warren aptly noted, I needed time with Katrina. 

Katrina is preparing for a cross-country move and much of what we did while we were together was sort and pack books. Tens of books, hundreds of books. We set out for inspection a massive doll collection that Katrina inherited from a friend of her mother's. It was a tsunami of dolls, so many that I turned to Katrina and said "these are depressing me," which caused us both to start laughing. We sorted through lifetime accumulations of her children's and even her own school papers and drawings and photos. We left the house a few times, to run some errands, to tour the Cloisters, but mostly we stayed home working.   

And throughout the packing and the sorting and the tossing and the boxing, Katrina and I talked and talked and talked. It was healing talk, it was exploring talk, it was comfort food talk.

I am typing these words on Saturday morning while Warren works nearby marking bowings on music for the upcoming concert. Our evening plans have been rewritten; our dinner guests have been under the weather and called to cancel. I will miss them. All the same, I am looking forward to a quiet evening of just the two of us, away, if only briefly, from the intensity of the recent weeks. I am looking forward to an evening of comfort food talk and time with my beloved Warren.

And then there is the missing recipe that slipped back into my life today as quietly as it had disappeared. The card is sitting in front of me as I type and I am almost (but not quite) tempted to make a batch. I said when I began this that it came back at a good juncture and it did. I am still not "back" to writing, although scribbling even this small piece gives me hope. I am still at times all but driven to my knees with what I can only describe as sorrow, undefined and vague, but sorrow all the same.

But the recipe is back home. And so am I.


see you there! said...

Somehow I just knew that recipe was going to turn up. It seems almost like a talisman, order is being restored.

Have a wonderful and relaxed evening.


Anonymous said...

I am so glad that this elusive recipe has found you again! I might make a copy, just in case, the next time it eludes you during intense times. I can just picture the scene with Katrina and the dolls.

Karen said...

You put words to my feelings, and I thank you! My husband and I share that intensity of life, good usually, but intense nonetheless. And the quiet evening when dinner guests have had to cancel...that was our Saturday night too.

I so appreciate your imagery.