HOW WE FOUND HOPE

The next time you see these, they'll be incubating seedlings

I’ve never done this before.  Used eggshells as starter pots for seeds.  It’s one of those things I’ve read about and thought, oh how clever.  But by the time it’s time to start seeds, I’ve failed to remember to save eggshells and the crates they come in, so another year passes.  Lately, though, I’ve been going through lots of eggs.  That has coincided with the mildest, warmest winter since I’ve lived here – my fifth, though I don’t know how that can possibly be.   One thing led to another, and I started thinking seeds and saving egg shells, all at the same time.  Clearly, my friends, anything is possible.

Yesterday afternoon, Valentine’s Day, I stopped on my way home and picked up packets of herbs and lettuces that I’ll set in soil in all these eggshells tonight.  They’ll be ready and waiting in the kitchen bay window for the sun’s first rays tomorrow morning.  Planting is an optimistic act.  It’s an investment, a commitment.  It’s tilling the earth, nurturing, harvesting the fruits of one’s labors.  Garrison Keillor could so put a better spin on this than I can.   Nonetheless, whatever else planting is, it is inherently optimistic.

Valentine’s Day was for many years primarily a navigation point on the calendar.  Its appearance on the horizon reminded me that my husband’s birthday was near, the 15th of February.  Now that date has become its own marker.  Six weeks from now, we’ll pause for the anniversary of his death.  Neither event has the power any longer to suck out our breath and freeze us in our tracks.  The phrase that comes to mind is that “we’ve moved on.”  One of those pat, simplistic strings of words that others have used more than we ever did.  As in:  you need to move on.  As in:  if I could move at all, don’t you think I would?  What we’ve done is gone on.  Haltingly at first, in darkness and confusion.  But time, as it will, passed, and slowly, and always in retrospect, we began to realize that our lives were once again taking on some momentum.

So every year around this stretch, the son and the daughter and I all talk on the phone, they talk to each other, and we’ve become able to do so in a joyful way.  With much gratitude.  With optimism.

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About thesolitarycook

I'm a chef, a cook, a teacher, a reader, a writer, a bike-rider, a dog- and cat-woman
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24 Responses to HOW WE FOUND HOPE

  1. Kathy Whittenberger says:

    please consider yourself hugged

  2. Bevi says:

    Such a lovely post. Our extended family is going through a very rough time, and reading something like this gives me hope that one day the remnants will be picked up and we can move forward with hope and optimism. By the way, the dough is resting – and I don’t have a bread scraper. Ugh.

    • I have a good friend who may be close to losing a family member. None of us gets away from having to feel deep emotions and still find ways for our good lives to go on. You’ll be there with and for each other.

      Now you know why the bench scraper was invented!

  3. Your post made me misty eyed…my husband’s cancer sharply reminds us about how fragile life is.

  4. panfusine says:

    such a beautiful, thoughtful tribute to your husband… Rest assured, He’s up there watching over you & your children… *HUGS*

    • Yes, I know he’s not far. I dream of him often, and feel lucky every time. The dreams are almost always of packing to move. Your and everyone’s tender thoughts mean the world to us. Thank you, Panfusine. Beginning to write about him has been on the one hand natural, on the other, very difficult. Have you read Joan Didion’s books about her husband’s and daughter’s deaths? #breathtaking.

  5. What a beautiful and moving post, a tribute to your husband and enduring love. Thank you for sharing your personal journey. I consider you one of my closest friends and hope to meet you in person very soon.

  6. Jenny says:

    Just found your site. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Hannah says:

    I sighed deeply while reading your post. Thank you for sharing about your husband – very moving, inspiring words. You are so right – you go on over time…not the same as moving on, though. My best friend died almost 4 years ago. I used to wake up shocked to remember she was gone but that has slowly ebbed away and been replaced with a quiet acceptance. She is very much alive in her little son and continues brings joy to us all. I’m thinking of you and your son and daughter.

    It will be a happy sight to see your seedlings take root in the egg shells! A clever idea indeed.

    • Thank you so much, Hannah. “Shock” is a perfect word. Acceptance does slowly replace it.

      I take no credit for the eggshell idea. I can’t remember where I came across it. When it’s time to plant, I’m supposed to gently crush the eggshell and plant it right along with the seedlings. It’s all a science experiment, you know.

  8. Rebecca says:

    Oh, what a beautiful tribute to your husband and the real hope that continues as life goes on. You and your children are truly living in his legacy. You have been a blessing to me and my family with all you’ve shared and taught me. The wonder and awe you impart in life is completely inspiring. I’m getting my egg cartons ready to plant too! Hugs.

  9. Sweet, gentle Rebecca, it is always so good to hear from you, and thank you for your kind thoughts. Stay tuned . . . in a couple of weeks I’ll be posting a call to the Divas to come together for a baking project.

  10. ldpw says:

    I just have to smile reading this.

  11. lapadia says:

    Cynthia, I am so touched. In this world there is never a conclusion; a sequel stands beyond, and nothing beautiful is ever really lost because all that is precious live on in memory, forever. The secret to life is anticipating the rainbows and I know you have found that 

    On another note, egg shells, hmmm, have saved the cartons but not the shells, can’t wait to hear and see the results!

  12. emgrossi says:

    This is beautiful, cyn. What a tribute to your husband, your children, and the bonds you’ve created and maintained. Thinking of you!

  13. Sam says:

    This is lovely and touching, Auntie. I just found your blog, and am excited to get some great recipes, and your insight along with them.

    • How great to hear from you, Sam! I’m so glad you found your way here. Please be sure to check the Vegetarian section of the Categories. Hope to see you for graduation with your mom & dad.

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