Beginner's Heart


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I wish I could send out, over the ethernet, the fragrance of the peach tea I made today. I wish there was a way to bottle the steam spiralling from the cup, comforting on a worrying day.

Often when I worry, it’s not for me. I worry about my younger son (although he called last night, still happy on his round-the-world sabbatical). I worry for my elder son and my DIL, juggling a problematic pregnancy, a toddler, and two new-ish jobs — each one a demand in its own right. But today I worry for my own beloved, who is working on an ugly court battle on behalf of a family member.

The  law, I once told my mother, is really not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about the law. And if people do not act with good intent? If they elide information, or ‘forget,’ or even flat-out lie? The law will not know that. And sometimes very bad things can happen to good people.

the author's

the author’s

For most southerners (and I have finally accepted the fact that Oklahoma, this reddest of red states, is more southern than midwestern), peaches are comfort food. My fondest summer memories often involve peaches: the homemade peach ice cream my mother made me. The peach cobbler my Aunt Bonnie made whenever I came to see her. Even, last summer, perfect local peaches w/ a splash of local honey and a dollop of good yogurt. Food that evokes happiness.

So today, I added one peach ‘ball’ of blooming tea to the usual house China black. As soon as the hot water hit the pot, peaches filled the air. Aunt Bonnie was hugging me, and my mother was shaking her head, laughing at me. The room brimmed with comfort, and I remembered: it all passes. Even the bad times are part of the tapestry, the shading that gives us perspective in a painting, the dark threads that outline the gold.

I’m okay, and my beloved will be okay. My DIL, my elder son, and my younger son will be okay, too. It will take time, but in the meanwhile? There is this sunlit moment in the breakfast room, and the fragrance of peaches.

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