It was blustery and wet in Brooklyn the other day. Rainy, spitty and misty with a genuine chill in the air. I was out and about and headed home with hair quite tangled and 3 times larger than when I began. My feet stayed reasonably dry which was a big accomplishment and I was most excited to roast a delicata squash I had in my refrigerator. The roasting would warm the whole house while I kept the windows wide open to get more and more of that delicious perfectly chilled air.
I was so ready for fall this year. So ready. I was ready before August even began. Autumn awakens me in a way I cherish. I think about new shoes which is not a usual thought. I ponder what’s left on that unwritten list of what I want to do for the remainder of the year. I love needing a sweater and never putting it on. And this year, I was particularly hungry for that spark of life that change and chill can provide.
I’m not too handy or experienced in the kitchen. Except for roasting and Instapotting. I can google everything I need for those two methods and I had roasted delicata squash before. Cut into crescent shapes, toss in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and arrange on a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Midway through you turn the crescents over for a thorough and even roasting. I had put a pot of water on the stove to boil for some brown rice pasta to accompany my delicata right next to where I put the cookie sheet lined with parchment for the turning. There must have been a strong woosh of that chilly wind in and out through the open window which is right next to my oven/stove. Because when I turned around from my utensil drawer after retrieving the tiny tongs for turning, the parchment paper was on fire. On fire. With flames. Small. Mostly smoldering. But flames. There was fire.
I can report that all is well. My kitchen and I are still standing with no injuries and I realized a few things:
My first response to something amiss - like parchment paper on fire - is to freeze. I kept saying to myself, and quite possibly out loud, “that’s a fire, I need to take care of that, this a fire, I need to put it out”. And I was desperately trying to remember what was the best way to handle such a situation. Afterall, there was olive oil involved in the prep. I also really wanted to save my squash. Eventually, I smothered the fire with the Kindness coffee mug my goddaughter knew I would love and got for my birthday one year and then I wrapped what would have been a really good dinner into a parcel of sorts and put it under a steady stream of cold water in the sink - just to be sure the fire was out. My squash could not be saved but my “frozen” time realization and unfreezing was a little less than usual.
While the small flames were taking hold - my fire alarm was going off. Really loudly. That was important because it was on my unwritten list of things to check - to make sure it was still operational. It is. Very much so.
Also, it might be wise for me to do only one task at a time in the kitchen. Just roast. Just boil. Maybe everywhere. Multi-tasking may not be my strong suit.
And the next morning as I prepared for work, I realized I had smothered my delicata fire with my Kindness cup. This seemed significant somehow; what my Kindness cup was able to do. And made me wonder if unwanted heat can be cooled with kindness? This made me chuckle. And chuckling involves a lovely exhale.
I have been so aware - in what feels like our impossibly upside down world with so much that needs attention desperately and immediately and all at the same time - of kindness (when it’s easy for me and when it’s more difficult), connection (how I long for it and when it can overwhelm me) and heart, my heart (when it sings and when it struggles).
When I am kind and when I connect, I strengthen my heart. Because the heart is a muscle. And there it is, what I love best about my heart and all our hearts. They can get stronger. They can get clearer. They can be magnificent. They frequently are.
They are muscles. At the ready.
And I did get another delicata squash. Two, in fact. Because I will roast again. But only one kitchen task at a time.
Sending you and yours so much love.
2B in Brooklyn