Monday, May 11, 2009

The Spring of Days

Bill paying Monday. I still write checks that have my brother, Edward's, address on them. I told myself I was being wise with a penny, saving a tree, that really it didn't matter. But now I'm down to my last book of checks and I realize I'm going to have to order new ones, with my real identity, my real location.

When I drove out of Albuquerque nearly three years ago, I needed an address -- Homeland Security doesn't like you checking into a hotel without one -- so of course I chose Edward's because the plan was that when I returned from "clearing my head" (I said three months, Edward guestimated a year) I would live with him and his family until I got my own place. He was an engineer, remember. He liked the future mapped out.

Edward wrote me this email exactly three years ago today. He was helping me get the house fixed up so the soon-to-be-X and I could put it on the market.

"You know, I'm a little worried about the float valve on the a/c unit that sits over the living room. It was dripping ever so slightly. Take a moment to see if that one is overflowing.

That valve got all twisted around and the little lever that shuts off the water got bent in the process. It's dripping and overflowing the drain. It should take a few minutes to replace the thing. All we need to do is remove the copper pipe, remove the nut on the outside of the a/c and it should come right out. It's a standard a/c part. If you want, turn off the water in the basement so it doesn't drip and I'll help you replace tonight after work."

Yeah, I know, kind of pedestrian. Most of our emails back and forth were about daily things. But here's the rub. Edward couldn't fix my broken heart because he knew enough to realize that the big stuff had to find its own way, that it was out of his hands, even out of mine. But the small stuff...that he could fix. He had a tool box. And he'd always make me sit up there on the roof with him and hand him the wrenches while he explained exactly what he was doing and why. Then he'd sit back on his heels, satisfied that repairs had been made and ask, "so what's for dinner?"

It was spring. So no doubt it was something good and fresh. The Farmer's Market was just starting up in Downtown Albuquerque, thin yet optimistic. Just like here in Fish Town. Some details are the same everywhere, because Nature only worries about the dailiness of things.

Saturday was the first day and although my favorite vendor didn't make an appearance, I still scrambled and found a tiny head of kale, delicate spring onions, a handful of fragrant basil, thin sticks of asparagus and the most amazingly tender yet hearty-tasting spinach. It was good to see folks we hadn't seen all winter: organic farmers with dirt under their nails from early morning picking, the pig and sheep growers in the clap-trap circus trailer, the bearded salad lady who's still convinced the world is going to end even though George Bush isn't running it anymore, the Chinese guy with the buckets of tulips, and Katie the bread lady. Mostly, it was just nice to hug our friends and neighbors on a blustery day under a blue sky, the salt air whipping our scarves, tilting our hats.

So yes...even though I've been a bit melancholy lately, missing my brother...May was always the start of rock climbing season...I feel the itch in my arms and fingers...I know that spring always clears the webs. Just ask my 83-year-old uncle who got married yesterday. Yup, the bride wore white.

And we stirred the greens. That lovely spinach topped with steamed asparagus bits, crispy pancetta and shallots, cannelini beans, and chives clipped from the garden. Tossed with a grassy green olive oil, ground pepper and red wine vinegar that had been whisked with pancetta grease. Ooops. Forgot the hard boiled eggs. The mushrooms. But then that's why we do it again.

Other signs of Spring...Mia puts on her backpack and hits the trails.


Mich said...

That was a potporri if items! Kind like like a good spring salad...lot of juicy tidbits. We may have to meet in Portland again just to chat in person! Ian told his girlfriend the other day he misses you. Maybe it's time for you to head north! Sending lots of hugs your way.

Kylita said...

Knew when I saw your "dreading Monday" post on Facebook today that it might have something to do with Edward. Monday would've been my brother's anniv, but it slipped past me a few days before I had remembered, so that's good, isn't it?? Tues would've been my 30th anniv from my ex, Billy, who is dying of cirrhosis. He was Dana's friend and I'm trying to keep in touch so as to "say goodbye" perhaps to more than just Billy. We went to the Farmer's Mkt 2 wks ago and got pumpkin butter - yum! for homemade cinnamon/raisin bread, veggie bread, a flat of giant pansies and a wonderful smelly little lavender, redskin potatoes, peapods, etc. Going again tomorrow. 1st yr we've managed to get up in time! ha! Pansies still sit in their flat but they look happy. Tuffy, tho neutered, seems to have a girlfriend coming around. I've named her Creamy so far. Looks like could be his sister/daughter,
brother? Enuf info on this post, poor dear, dealing with your SisSTAR! Love you xo