tiramisu and the faces of janus
If you’re the one who lost your grocery list and coupons last Sunday outside my house, don’t worry, I have them and will keep them until the organic power greens coupon with a 75-cent savings expires on January 31st. But the two-or-more avocado coupon with a savings of 40 cents expires on January 3rd, just a few days from now, so there’s some urgency about the avocados. Both coupons are attached to your grocery list with a paperclip, and I see from the list that you have company, possibly all of them vegetarians, but vegetarians with a sweet tooth. Brussels sprouts, leeks, beets, red and white wine, olive oil, butterfly noodles, finished off with whatever delightful dessert calls for mascarpone, most likely tiramisu. And I’ve learned that a vegan tiramisu can be made with avocados, so I’m feeling more certain about where that mascarpone is headed. Your handwriting, by the way, is surprisingly legible for someone in a hurry. It’s hurried but legible, and just so you know, the r in mascarpone comes after the second a instead of the first. I can certainly understand the confusion of marscapone vs. mascarpone, the former reminiscent of at least one mobster.
Speaking of Italy, here’s the word on tiramisu: Its translation is “pick me up,” and it was created as an aphrodisiac and served to the brothel clientele of a town called Treviso. The point was to keep everyone invigorated and eager to pay for the next pleasure-seeking session. Nothing like rich, sweet, caffeinated food to accomplish that with no complaints!
So, it’s the end of the year, in the way my culture measures years. I’ve tried to glean some message from your lost list and this is what I’ve come up with: Every lost thing becomes something to be found. Every found thing becomes something to be lost. Like Janus, the Roman god of doors, gates, and transitions, we stand in the world facing forward and back, future and past, planted yet divided, encompassing the is and isn’t. Your list flew from your hand or your pocket or your purse and landed in the winter tangle of my Virginia creeper where I spotted it hugging the fence. Perhaps it called out “Pick me up!” or perhaps I was feeling the overabundance of recent lost things and needed a found thing, even if it was two coupons and a grocery list. Pieces of paper blown across sidewalks and into bushes and yards have always interested me. Every one represents an expectation or a transaction. Sometimes it’s a receipt from the cleaners but sometimes…sometimes it’s a confession of love or a short work of fiction or a kid’s drawing of the planet we call home.
How many things—entities, beings, ideas, convictions and hopes have you lost this year? And how many new ones found? I won’t keep a lost list, not on this late afternoon in late December when the light itself is lost and the temperature is dropping and my family has gone home and my dear friends and I are getting older by the minute, losing sight and hearing and even smell, yet alive still, mostly alive. A found list, though. That’s different. It starts this way:
Satisfaction in being by myself
New trails to walk at the end of the day
A story to tell
The ability to be patient
A way to express what’s on my mind
Cookies on my front porch
A feral cat under the house
A pair of scratched Ray-Bans
2 coupons and a grocery list
What have you lost this year? What have you found? Keep in touch.
12/31/2020 06:26:03 pm
Delightful! Thank you for this lovely essay. Reading you is a beautiful way to word my way into 2021.
1/2/2021 02:31:34 pm
Hi Margie, this one's a ripper. Your best yet! Love, your sis
1/2/2021 02:35:52 pm
Lovely post, Margie. Thank you! Here is a couple of my thoughts on things lost and found...
1/7/2021 11:36:14 pm
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