asparagus

Okay. Tall green stalks, tips pointed upward. Tough bottoms, tender tops. There is a cascade of color that runs from the bottom to the top. What’s the word? Contrast? No. Hue, hubris…Anyway, it’ll come to me – white to light green on the bottom, and then darker green as the color works its way up. A nutritious vegetable, though I’m not sure what the nutritive value is. But it has to be good, right? To make your pee stink so bad, it has to be good for you? It certainly tastes like a vegetable, but can be saved with a little olive oil and salt to make your taste buds pop. I guess you could season it with anything. Usually grilled or steamed, in my experience. Some stalks are thicker than others – Thicker is better for grilling. You could lose thin ones on the grill, or they can get really charred. When asparagus is raw, it feels pretty hard, tough, tender. But cooking it usually softens it up a bit, especially if gets steamed. The bottoms are usually crunchy, sometimes tough and unedible with the exception of the inside of the stalk. I guess each asparagus is a case-by-case basis. The tops are tasty and tender. They’re usually a side dish, never a main event but can be used in soups, omelettes, stirfry, and quiche. Like anything else, they’ll crack and pop in the pan, or rumble against the pot as the water boils below. But that steamed water smells like piss – asparagus piss. It’s god awful; hot, potent. I’d hate to smell that hungover; It’d make me gag for sure. I wonder what area of the world asparagus is native to and what it was like to discover it first. Fruits and vegetables (and mushrooms) are so weird like that. I guess trial and error taught people what was poisonous and what wasn’t. They’re usually sold in bunches, tied together with a thick rubberband. It’s a vegetable staple not to be eaten raw. Cooked only. I don’t know anyone who eats raw asparagus, but it can’t be good for you. It’s not something to be dipped in ranch dressing on a crudite platter. Ignorance abound. Myself in younger years. I’ve never grown or farmed asparagus. I don’t know what it looks like before the supermarket. It might’ve been a crop on FarmVille. What a wild time to be a live then. The earliest iteration of Facebook games. Virtual, digital vegetables. Excuses to not pay attention in class, or go home early.

sprinkle

Rainbow sprinkles on vanilla soft serve ice cream. There’s nothing more simple and sinful than that. Simple summer pleasures where a cool, sweet treat in the hot, yellow sun is about close to perfect as you can get. The sugary crunch of sprinkles, happiness being consumed as cold, smooth vanilla makes it’s way, melting down the throat. Sweet. Licking that ice cream from it’s served swirl to smooth, glossiness. The crunch of the bland waffle cone. Even better if it’s a brown, toasted sugar cone with a pointed end. The waffle cone has a flat bottom, but a sugar cone let’s you bite the bottom and suck the ice cream out that way. There is a temptation to bombard your ice cream with toppings, but I think true joy lies in simplicity.

I remember being a sophomore in high school and spending the lunch hour at Carvel, which was right next door. Wednesdays were ‘Buy One Sundae, Get One Free’. And we loved that deal. For lunch we’d indulge in ice cream, soft serve with hot fudge, caramel, sometimes wet walnuts, flying high on the sugar rush which was bound to crash us all by 1-2 pm. Ah, the joys of early adultish decision making. Mistakes abound.

Sprinkles just automatically make any dessert better. Who doesn’t like sprinkles? And why is rainbow always superior to chocolate? I mean, okay, I’ll admit chocolate sprinkles ON chocolate soft serve is pretty phenomenal, but rainbow trumps all. It’s childlike joy and happiness pitter-pattering in my heart. Anticipation and satisfaction of carefree summer days. Because at that point, fuck the diet – let’s just live in the now. The sound of the ice cream man driving down suburban streets, but he usually just sold prepackaged ice cream and sweet treats. No complains there. But there is something nice about freshly scooped or swirled soft serve. I’ve never been one for banana sundaes. Leave the fruit out of it; It’s not supposed to be healthy anyway. Ha! The jingle-jangle of the music coming from that truck, announcing it’s summertime guarantee of fun and tastiness, exciting children –

magnolia

I have grown up with having a magnolia tree in my front yard. It is a beautiful tree. And every spring we are graced by its blooms. As of right now, mid-April, the blooms have already blossomed, petals have fallen to the ground; They have gotten rained on, wind-blown as far as the yard, maybe farther. We have had big, gusty days lately. From the top of the stairs through the two corrugated glass panels on the front door, the petals once they’ve fallen can easily give the appearance of snow.

The petals are mostly white, but have shades of pink, maybe purple, maybe even little black dots decorating the inside of the petal, closer to the center. They are silk soft and are easily torn. It has been awhile since I’ve picked a petal up and examined it. Maybe I’ve been taking the tree for granted. Though not a big perfum-y smell, it still a mild and pleasing scent; A reminder of spring, and that all things they die come to life again.

The other day, Mario watched from the window has three squirrels worked together, gnawing off branches to put them in an abandoned birds’ nest, I can only imagine they claimed as their own. It was fascinating to watch them work together in such a peculiar way, one of which I’ve never witnessed.

The tree is silent except for when the window blows; Then, it’s branches sway in the breeze. Sometimes if the branches are long enough, they’ll tap the bay window or the house. It is a mainstay of my childhood. I used to climb it often. So did my brother when he was younger.

Bringing the full flower to mind, it must be a five petal flower, at least. It’s center pollen columns reaching up. I wonder what kind of honey the bees make with it and what it tastes like. The bees love our yard, front and back I’d imagine. There is moss growing on its thick trunk and branches now. When mowing the lawn, we must go around it which sometimes prevents mowing in a straight line.

wick

Candle in a dark space. It is pitch black night, cool and damp. This candle has never been lit before. Removing the lid, I light all three wicks with a flick of my hand. Black needles, or blades, poking up out of the white, scented wax. It smells like vanilla and lavender. The wicks surprisingly pop, spitting out little bits of ash and smoke. The golden white flames grow and shrink and sway. The closer I get, the hotter it feels. Like a shield of heat protecting its life source. These wicks go all the way down the glass tub of this candle. The hardened wax softens as science decreed it. Being careful as to not burn myself, I push the cooler edges of the wax with my pointer finger. Having softened, it gives and I am entertained my this concept. I begin to light more candles, even ones that have no wicks and are battery operated and electronic, until I am awash in a warm glow and the cool dampness is but a distant memory. I watch the flames wiggle and watch the mysterious shadows that are now cast on the wall in the dark. I do not make a sound and listen to the ticking of wall clock that I cannot see. I do not know what time it is. I do not care what time it is. The floor becomes a tub I now sink myself into. The water is warm and bubbly. Suds are filled to my neck as I close my eyes and flex my toes. I now live in the hardwood floor, attached to this impromptu bathtub. The candles watch over me, useless without their lit wicks. I pretend I am a flame and I dance back and forth in my mind, just like them. I let their movement overcome and hypnotize me, until I am surely asleep and dreaming of something else.