Thursday, April 3, 2008

Asiago and Apples and Happiness

I had lunch with a friend recently. We both had not only a wonderful Persian Aash (savory herb soup with various beans and thick wheat noodles), but also a delectable mixed green salad with slices of apple and a generous pile of shaved slabs of asiago cheese, topped with a few curls of dried tomato and their wonderfully creamy dill-yogurt dressing. Oh my God. I'm drooling just thinking about it!

There is something so satisfying and explosively delighting about the contrast in textures and flavors. The sweet crunch of the apple contrasting with the sharp softness of the cheese, with some of the other textures and flavors in play. Reminds me of that scene in the animated movie, Rattattoui, in which the connoisseur rat experiences the combination of flavors in ever increasing explosions of color and light. Fireworks! In my case, blissful fireworks.

It was sunny and we lingered for a while on the sidewalk afterward, getting in another couple of minutes of conversation. The apparent warmness of the day was mitigated by the breezy conditions, though, adding a substantial nip in the air! After a while, I started to shiver and regret my lack of a jacket. But then, when I stepped back into the truck... ah! The delicious warmth! Pure sun-baked cozy. Neat how, again, the contrast heightens the experience. The warmth seemed luscious after the chill.

We'd had a good visit. We hadn't seen each other for a few months, so we hit on a variety of topics to catch each other up. We touched on work, our aged parents, what we thought of the Democratic primary race, adventures and travels, and the state of several groups we both belong to. I told her the latest about my calling + teaching and the projects-with-great-potential that my husband has been pursuing.

Once she remarked with something like surprise: You sound happy! I had to consider and say, Huh, yeah. Yes, I am... And that's an interesting state to find myself in after years of various personal struggles and disappointments! Pretty cool in fact.

Schmutzie wrote recently about not being able to accomplish as much as she would have liked or thought during/after her 1.5 years of trauma and stress. Made me realize that there is something to the idea of processing.

Processing is usually not as quick and easy as we'd like. For myself, it involved a certain amount of ennui, anger, confusion, and anxiety and mutter mutter mutter (lots of crap and swearing and whining). Oh wait, maybe that WAS my process. Anyway, I suddenly have noticed a lot of things coming together personally and professionally. I also seem to be at peace (or maybe fatalistic? ha!) about some of those big disappointments, and even found new things that work for me.

It's no big whooping deal. It's just very, very nice to realize, hey, I am pretty happy about where I am and where I'm going. Maybe it's the contrast that really shows off the bright happy stuff in higher relief. Apparently, one CAn get through to the other side.

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