This is a really clear summary of my life right now. So, when it was time to head to St. Louis for Joe’s Poetry at the Point reading I wanted to turn it into a vacation. The past few days had me particularly itchy in my own skin. The moment we started driving, I felt the Midwest calming me down. Wild flowers in half-prairies. Shade. Windows open with lots of cool wind. The smell of manure.
Okay, that actually really got to us after a few hours. We got into St. Louis as the sun was setting. The view of the riverfront then the drive through our favorite neighborhoods and into Maplewood brought back our usual we-arrived-in-St-Louis conversation. We should look for jobs here. Kids would love it here. The homes in this neighborhood are a good size. I miss this city.
And what a welcome it gave us. We got to stay with a couple we first befriended in France. We love seeing them when we come back to St. Louis–a couple that understands so many of the tiny, obscure parts of our marriage that we feel most deeply. Now, they’re expecting a baby & turning a sweet, brick gingerbread house into a perfect home. They pulled out all the stops for our dinner. Yes, those are homemade potato chips. And cheese burgers from their CSA on toasted, buttery buns. With carrots from the garden & turnips from the CSA. And OMG beer. Schlafly is our favorite brewery, & our friends had an incredible new brew by them, the special release Golden Ale.
Sitting at our friend’s table, digging into memories & sharing new, playing with the most amazing puppy in the entire world, talking about Joe’s job interviews & my upcoming program, we felt so close to a more secure, peaceful life.
The next night, while having dinner at the Bottleworks, where Joe announced that he got a full-time job teaching English. We grabbed two six-packs of the glorious golden ale to bring home, in the spirit of celebrations. We’re trying to savor it… Okay, okay. It’s gone already. No judging.
Before Joe’s poetry reading on Tuesday evening, I mostly hid away with my dear friend Lauren, catching up on some much-needed gabbing. We toured her garden–an incredible reminder that succession planting & not being intimidated can lead to really high food production on a very small amount of land.
After a trip to the dog park with my friends’ pup, the most adorable & human-like dog in the entire world, we got to visit a woman in the neighborhood. She’d converted her whole back yard–a large lot for an urban area–into garden plots, one of which my friend had used for a corn crop. Walking through the garden, hearing about the 60 types of peppers, loads of tomato plants, eggplant starts waiting to be planted & countless other edible somethings planted about, I was reminded of a lesson the universe seems to be repeatedly throwing my way this past month: You can grow a lot of food. And it’s not that complicated. And plants are just excited to be doing what they do–grow.
Don’t think too much. Visit some gardens. Then plant things. That’s my lesson from the summer, & I thank the endless number of people reminding me of it.
Lesson #2: Around age 25, your body eats your brain & tells you it’s time to have kids. At this point, hanging around pregnant women making really wonderful, sustainable decisions about their children & pregnancy is super dangerous. And talking about kids scares your husband…