Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Green

Nothing to do with food, but I've been meaning to share this quote by Wallace Stegner from a 1972 essay called "Thoughts in a Dry Land."

To appreciate the West, he said, "you have to get over the color green." I love that. "You have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns," he said. "You have to get used to an inhuman scale."

I was on the East Coast last week, and to my unacclimated eye it almost seemed like being underwater, with all that humid air and the waving trees. We spent a week on Martha's Vineyard and I cooked lobster, bacon-wrapped scallops, strawberry-rhubarb pie, grilled salmon, garlic shrimp, and strawberry shortcake. There's nothing better than the cooking you can do on vacati
on.

Now we're back and San Francisco is undergoing a surprise heat wave. I would've expected fog by no
w, but last night it was hot. We drove up to Twin Peaks with our neighbors Marilyn and Meredith and watched the solstice sun go down with about 100 other people. It was a Southern California sunset like you see on 1970s album covers: blue ocean with a glowing band of red, orange, pink, and yellow above it. The whole city was glowing pink and sparklingly clear, and there was just a thin whisp of fog drifting in under the Golden Gate. A night like this almost never happens here. It felt like one of those moments that you look back on later as a harbinger of good things to come.

When we got home, Meredith served papardelle topped with cabbage, fennel, halibut, and parsley-lemon butter. I was so content I fell asleep on their couch.

1 comment:

Tana said...

How odd. My Bloglines subscriptions showed this as a "new" entry, so I popped over to enjoy it, not noticing the date. Solstice? Heat wave?

I'm glad I did read it, though.

When I first came to California, it was August, 1978, and I landed in San Diego. I didn't see any green anywhere: everything looked brown and terrible to me. That was almost thirty years ago, for all but five or six of them I have lived on the California coast. Nineteen of them I have spent in Santa Cruz, which is a little greener, but not much.

I have learned to see the nuances: the olive greens, the dark green of the live oak trees, the chapparal, and the ice plants along our highways. While I sometimes long for the gentle spring greens of my Georgia childhood, I am comfortable with the beauty that California greens are. I even tell my little grandson, "Your eyes are the same color green as Nana's, Logan. We have California green eyes." (He's my stepdaughter's son, and we two unrelated souls have the only green eyes in our big extended family.)

Nice piece. Thank you.