It’s never the same, is it, that next night following the meal
you threw yourself into, having braved the zoo of the weekend market,
the mad scramble in your files for a cheesecake recipe that could steal
anyone’s heart, the patient stovetop stirring, the kitchen a thicket
of aromas and your own wild, unassailable ardor. Now, these same dishes
rendered less spectacular the second time around, dessert
a little on the gummy side, house too quiet, and your only real wish is
to clear the fridge of this remainder, wipe the shelves of the effort
you gave. You want blankness, space, a raw canvas for creating.
The stomach of your heart is ravenous and waiting.
Maya Stein has done it again. And right on time.
It's almost as if she's been reading my mind and my journal.
And then she rewrote my thoughts in ten perfectly crafted lines of poetry.
My heart is ravenous these days.
Deep fried soul food heavily salted by prejudice and fear,
non-nourishing soul junk food coated in sugary pablum,
prepackaged, over-cooked, underseasoned white bread style soul food that others
have forcefed me for decades, the predigested kind -
I seem to have developed a severe allergy to all of it.
But before I can decide what I'm going to feed my hungry soul, I need to spend time doing what Maya suggests in her poem - cleaning the shelves. Get rid of the sticky, overripe, rotten stuff that has been sitting around for far too long. The old ways of relating to the people I know and love. The old ways of relating to people I no longer need or wish to have in my life, in my inner circle. The old ways of denying myself the love and passion and joy and freedom that my soul craves. Even the old ways of prayer and faith and reading the Bible. Everything must change. A deep cleaning is underway, folks. Deep.
It's time for everything to be taken out of the pantry of my soul and inspected.
It's time for a good old fashioned sniff test: if it stinks, it's out.
It's time to check expiration dates. If it's outdated and no longer applicable to my life, it's out.
It's time to do some allergy testing; if my heart starts to itch or break out into soul-deep hives, it's out.
It's time for soulful cell phone serenades from kindred souls - thanks Jen.
Thanks for reminding me that there are many ways to live the life of faith - thanks Rachelle.
It's time for text and email exchanges with another woman on her mid-life adventure - thanks Louise.
It's time for paint and glue and markers and the free flow of creative juices - thanks Heather and Mary Anna.
It's time for reconnecting with loved ones thru travel - thanks for saying "yes," Liz.
Can't wait to see you, Natalia. Gotta pick a weekend with you, Launa.
Plus there is the ever-present yearning return to my soul's birthplace, Madrid.
We have got to make that rendezvous in Barcelona happen, Judy.
It's time for long slow meals and candlelit conversation.
It's time for laughter and singing and dancing late into the night.
It's time for holding hands, telling stories, and staring at the full moon.
It's time for sitting in silence rather than filling the air with unneeded and unheeded sermons.
It's time for an entirely new diet of Soul Food.