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Domestic Privilege by Amy Wright

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  • It is not coffee spoons by which I measure out this life, but spoonfuls of frozen beverages as they transition to pumpkin soup and caramel lattes. Tonight I will sleep deeply thanks to the temperature dropping with the first leaves outside my open window and the meditation of ghee making. It's a thought-quieting process to skim milk solids from the surface of boiled butter. The mind slows its frantic revolutions by repeating any gesture, especially one that trains the eye on a hot pan, the hand to spoon off white foam, then the clear bubbles that will clarify to a golden aromatic oil that, cooled, turns the color of beeswax. Ghee does not have to be refrigerated, but I do refrigerate mine. It lasts longer.

    I didn't make a batch all summer. Standing over a popping vat with a long-handled spoon is too hot a process for someone who wasn't raised in India.

    There are nearby grocers who stock ghee, but I prefer to make my own. It's my first ritual of fall. Others include cleaning the oven to ready it for zucchini bread and going for the last cold swim of the season. This year I am also promoting a canned food drive before the jarring reminder of winter.

    I am particularly aware--partially thanks to the Occupy movement and the shared stores that have made economic disparity and other injustices more blatant--of the privilege of homemaking. What an honor to have a home (even if I don't own it). It's a sacred thing, to keep house, to extend that tenderness one has toward the body to those rooms and walls that surround it. I want to believe, to continue to believe that such an extension has meaning. I'd like to imagine that care for it even ripples outward, the way a series of small choices gradually become habitual, and from conscientious habit follows a more contemplated lifestyle.
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