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  • I got a new laptop for Christmas. After only a few weeks it's filthy - the screen cloudy, coated in a slight film of grease, the keyboard littered with crumbs. That lemon tart in salted, shortbread crust I baked two weeks ago, the chicken coconut curry with peas and potatoes I made just now - remnants of it are visible on this piece of equipment, despite my attempts to keep it shiny and new looking.

    After a long and echoing respite, cowbird stories are pouring out of me and through this computer as if they have a mind of their own. They are whispering (sometimes whining or whimpering) to be let out and I am obliging, here at my kitchen counter.

    For as long as I can remember it's been this way though I've not realized it till now, till hearing Kristina's story about her grandmother.

    There's always been truth shared in the kitchen - from me, to others and vice-versa - and now I see I am not alone in this. Ask me a question anywhere else, at any point, in any other place and you might get a broad spectrum of answers - things I might think I should say, things I think you might want to hear, things I think just sound good. But ask me a question in my kitchen and you will get the truth, in plain and simple speak. Why is this? How can this be so universally true?

    Maybe while the hands move the heart speaks freely ~

    Maybe, blissfully unaware of the pressures of the outside world, of the ramifications of words, souls can chat to one another in gentle voices while the beef braises in the oven or in louder tones while the onions sizzle in a cast iron skillet. Maybe stories, whole lifetimes, are shared in silence while beans are being topped and tailed or as potatoes and beets are sliced thin as paper on the mandoline.

    "God that's beautiful" I said looking at the beets, grabbing my camera and feeling as if I could weep. I meant it. There's no lying in the kitchen, it's simply impossible.

    I have never invited anyone to help me, side by side, prepare a meal who I did not have the intention of knowing for a good long time. Never. I now see that I would not, could not, invite just anyone into that sacred space. I have invited many in quickly while others not at all, not even after years.

    So when I popped that cherry tomato in your mouth or handed you a knife (a potential weapon I invited you to wield in a confined space) when I grinned "come help me cut the herbs" and headed out the door with a wink and the expectation that you would follow, or said "let's go serve up that pie" with a raised eyebrow and a nod, a sudden rise from the table to which you did not think twice but just responded... God. It was a song. A harmony being sung.

    How do these things happen? Did you hear it?

    I did not, not till now.

    How did I manage to ignore that music till now?
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