I've had a bit of a hiatus from this blog--since August to be exact--because, as some earlier posts had hinted at, I'd lost motivation to keep writing about food all the time. I love blogs like Orangette that constantly try out and suggest new recipes, introduce you to new cookbooks, and generally talk about the way to weave food into life. But, I realized that my love for food and desire to write about food is more about discovering what makes for a full, whole and healthy life. So, rather than having food as the sole focus of my writing, I am making a shift. Food is central and necessary to a good life, but there are so many, many other things. And of these, many things, I will write.
It is January in Seattle. Grey and wet, as usual; a few snowshowers, unusual; thoughts of sunnier, drier places and the kinds of life shifts necessary to discover these places, more usual than I'd like to admit. It is in the midst of sideways rain and wind that turns my umbrella inside-out, that I begin, inevitably, to think about Provence. This dry, mediterranean climate in the south of France is, in many ways, my shangri-la. History drips out of Provence like a saturated sponge. Cobbled, serpentine streets, 16th century stone farmhouses, Roman aqueducts and vineyards that trace their heritage to the days before Christ. The color pallette is a mix of burnt browns and oranges with sage and landender thrown in for good measure, and to offset the whole mix, the locals paint their shutters periwinkle blue, most likely in homage to the brilliant sky overhead. It is a dream. But it is a dream without good job opportunities and without affordable mortgages. It is a dream that lingers only as long as I don't think about how difficult it is to be accepted and embraced by the French. Regardless, it is the dream I keep coming back to.
Maybe this is only because winter is winter and requires, in fact demands, some sort of warm-weather dreaming. Living in Seattle may be wet and dreary more months of the year than I will even dare mention (lest I get gloomy again) but it is full of incredible opportunities. A vibrant arts community, excellent universitites, job options and an entrepreneurial spirit that supports innovative young people, affordable living and access to the outdoors. This is an incredible mix. Perhaps I'm actually dreaming of faraway places because I'm not taking advantage of all this place has to offer.
It is January in Seattle. It is cold and grey. The saturated clouds gather over and around the Olympic mountains, embracing them as only clouds are able. As I drive up and over the many hill crests in this city, I see the rugged mountains emerge for a moment or more from the mist and I'm stunned by how large and present they can feel, even as I look on from the midst of a city street. Usually they retreat quickly, but sunset burns the clouds off the horizon and a sunny ring circles
Puget Sound and the Olympics, just enough to see their solid, snowy bases once more. As early darkness settles in I light the house and sit beneath a down comforter, content to read for an hour or more. Dinner is a thick soup and buttery bread. Some nights there is a fire. It is January in Seattle and I am awake.