I watched her,
my bride, Pontheolla,
for 55 minutes,
moving about the kitchen
trying out a recipe courtesy of Gaida De Laurentiis:
Nonna’s Artichokes (one of De Laurentiis’s grandmother’s favs, I suppose).
She, Pontheolla, does this a lot.
Tries out new things.
Tests them on us first before serving them to anyone else:
“We’re our own guinea pigs,” she smiles brightly
(She’s like that, too.
Always thinking, hoping that things will turn out well –
a fair and fitting counterbalance to my characteristic skepticism.)
For 55 minutes,
I watched her,
following, for me, a complicated recipe.
I listened, too,
for she always sings when she cooks,
rendering aloud the tune of life that breathes through her soul;
her voice, a melodic mezzo,
rising and falling in accompaniment to her graceful, grace-filled hands:
halving and trimming artichokes,
whisking anchovy paste,
blending salt and pepper, olives and capers,
making her own breadcrumbs (“From scratch is best,” again she smiles),
mixing her breadcrumbs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese,
then putting it all together.
As the clock arrived nearer the end of the sweep of one hour
it was done and
it was delicious!
She’ll never say that she’s a chef.
She always demurs, confessing only, “I like to cook.”
But she’s a chef alright.
She’s something else – a transporter to transcendence
(and the best, most faithful kind because she’s unconscious of her merciful ministry)…
for in the 55 minutes of chronos of watching and listening to her
I, almost without knowing it, entered kairos:
for the ancient Greeks that qualitative experience of time in which all things exist
for Christians that divine moment of the realization of God’s purposes…
for in that 55 minutes I stood in eternity…
and I was at peace with myself, my Gemini-self,
that ever holds in tension elements of lightness of spirit and darkness of mood,
thus, my self with whom I struggle greatly…
and I was at peace with our world, our world at, in, and of war of every kind,
about which I grieve hour by hour…
I was at peace.
Thank you, Nonna.
Thank you, Gaida.
Thank you, Pontheolla.
Thank you, God.