I prepared a pot roast yesterday for the first time in two or three years.
Most of the time my dinner preparations are embarrassingly primitive. Yes, I do eat out or get take-out—mostly cheap take-out the year and a half I lived in Hoboken. But for most of my adult life I’ve prepared dinner.
Two or three times a year I’d do a pot roast. Certainly nothing elaborate or fancy. Still, it’s a step above rock-bottom basic. After all, it does require that you peel onions, carrots, and potatoes—though I didn’t peel them this time. I do like the skins. You have to dredge the meat in a flour and spice mixture. It’s got to cook for several hours, so you’ve got to watch it, help it along.
There’s enough to do that one has a sense of involvement with the food. It’s something you think about, tend to, and care for.
It felt good.
And when I put the food on my plate, I blessed it. I didn’t say anything, but I felt something. That something was a blessing.
Which I realized only as I composed this note. That blessing is the point of the note, it’s why I set out to write it. But the specific word wasn’t in my mind when I sat down to type.
It’s one I associate with Coleridge, his poem “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison” at the very end:
My gentle-hearted Charles! when the last rook
Beat its straight path across the dusky air
Homewards, I blest it! deeming its black wing
(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light)
Had cross'd the mighty Orb's dilated glory,
While thou stood'st gazing; or, when all was still,
Flew creeking o'er thy head, and had a charm
For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom
No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.