Friday, April 22, 2016

Oatmeal Recipe

As if the grey skies weren't enough, my morning started with a reprimand: There is so much beauty in this world if you choose to see it.

I squint hard trying to see it.

My gaze comes to rest on the boy's face. Beautiful, soft-skinned, still. There's something about him this morning, his far away look out the window suggesting the man who will take his place if I blink. My anxious mind does me no favors and beauty cascades into guilt for not having enjoyed him enough in his boyhood. Greed, my second sin of the morning, appears and I want it all back I think: the small hands, the milky breath. Though even as the thought forms I know it is a lie.

I will my gaze past more piles of guilt covering the table -- laundry-in-waiting -- to the boy, also in-waiting, but for oatmeal, Bob Dylan tucked in one ear. He's listening hard when the soft flannel-clad one claims a neighboring perch. Oatmeal for two, then.

It's dreary outside and inside, both. We need the rain, I say to Oliver as though I know what he's thinking.**  Wildfire ash has blanketed the sky for two days, 6,000 acres a verdent dream. Neither respond and I breathe deeply and wait for their beauty to sink to my heart level, hoping it will do the trick of whisky on a cold night. It's the least they can do, I think to myself, stirring the last remaining blackberries into the pot, a final bit of frozen sweetness stretched from last years bounty.

I crush almond slivers in my hand, carefully so I don't make a mess, sprinkle them along with a bit of brown sugar on the two bowls of oats, and try to picture the beating muscle in my chest. Expand, contract, expand, contract, I think. Which will it be today?



** Though maybe I know something more than I fear I do -- here's our morning Dylan soundtrack -- brought to you by my beautiful boy:

"A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall"


Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
And where have you been my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder that roared out a warnin'
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'
I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what'll you do now my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell and speak it and think it and breathe it
And reflect from the mountain so all souls can see it
And I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singing
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

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