a short bit in praise of laze
i might have had you there at short, the adjective for brevity, synonym for “this’ll be quick; over in a jiffy.” perhaps you heard a sigh of exultation as your cognitive wheels sputtered and spilled out a soft hallelujah. not much to read today. oh, joy. (too lazy here even for exclamation marks, when a simple dot of ink — the period — will do.)
today, amid the incoming heat waft, the plumes of furnace-fueling Fahrenheits rolling in across the prairie, building steam as they leap the Big Muddy (the mighty mississippi, among the few rivers whose spelling wove its way into my girlhood jump-rope ditties), we turn our collective attentions to the myriad ways the month of hot july invokes slo-mo, stalls us to the lower-grade velocities: we amble to the garden, plonk our toes atop the wicker settee or into the water’s edge, set a spell in the summer porch, toss back fistfuls of inky-bursting berries, dawdle under the stars, lose track of day and time…(and make the most of ellipses while we’re at it, the original non-committal punctuation, the one that trails off into whisper, allowing any sentence to unspool at its own sweet idle…)
in celebration of indolence (lazy‘s grown-up fancy twin), a short list of praises:
sleeping till your eyelids — or the window shades — flutter open. determinedly silencing the bells, whistles, radar tones, and radio blares that dare to launch you into yet another full-on, get-it-done day.
making no plan for the weekend beyond the turning of pages.
cicada song, the rising reverberations of the hollow belly of the male bug the old latins called “the tree cricket,” from the superfamily Cicadoidea; perhaps a noxious noise to you, but to me it’s a lullaby i sink into every summer. a sound not unlike the endless sawing of blocks and blocks of wood, it’s a song that indeed puts me in a mind to saw my own endless strings of zzzzzzz’s.
sauntering the farmers’ market, guided only by whatever bounty stirs your fancy, leaving home any iteration of a grocery list (yet another domestic harness by which we are too often, too tightly bound).
pinching off fistfuls of pungent basil leaves, stuffing them into the maw of the countertop wiz-master, along with cloves of garlic, chunks of parmesan, and rivers of the fine green olive oil, and, presto, calling it a pesto (aka the unction of choice for any summer feast).
speaking of which, here’s a little video that inspired my presto pesto trials most of yesterday afternoon, interludes of herbaceous joy amid yet another afternoon sprawled in my window perch, up amid the serviceberry boughs where my turning of the pages is accompanied by duets of robins getting tipsy on the fattest, purplest berries just beyond the windowpanes.
and here, if you’re too lazy to click on any hyperlinks, the read-along version of summer’s long-awaited green and chunky goo, the one best slathered on anything that dares to cross your platter….
food52’s best basil pesto
Makes about 3/4 cup
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 3 min
- 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
- 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 ounce)
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 5 loosely packed cups basil leaves (from a 2-ounce bunch)
- Set a small strainer over a small bowl. Combine the pine nuts and 4 tablespoons of oil in a small pan set over medium-low heat. Swirling occasionally, toast the pine nuts until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the pan’s contents into the strainer. Let nuts cool completely.
- Once the nuts are cool, combine them and their oil, the cheese, garlic, salt, and remaining olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down as needed. Add the basil leaves and pulse just until the pesto becomes smooth, again scraping down if needed. Use immediately, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks (though, the sooner you use it, the better-tasting it will be), or the freezer for up to 3 months.
and, poof! there you have it. a short meander through the delights and surrenders of a day — or even a weekend — spent in unbridled serendipities. a necessary antidote to madness. most emphatically amid pandemic.
how do you define lazy?
p.s. all this laziness comes at the end of yet another wrenching and tumultuous week: putting boy 1 on airplane, bound for a big cross-country move and, alas, a bar exam that — unlike dozens of other states — illinois is insisting on holding in person come the start of september; and boy 2 found out that only freshmen and sophomores are now slotted to return to campus in the fall, a decision that means — among many other things — he has to give up the dorm room he considered one of the best in the leafy little town of gambier, ohio, a room in an old stone manse, a room complete with leaded glass bay windows, peering down a wooded hill, in the great company of his best coterie of college comrades. all in all, given the horrors that abound, these are not by any measure trials, but they wrench the heart nonetheless, and after months of this, our heart walls are somewhat thinned….
Thank you for defining and giving me absolution for these past few July weeks. I have been using the terms “unproductive” and “uninspired” but yours are the balm I need. They make me want to actually SIT and enjoy the garden instead of constantly pulling weeds. Thank you, dear!
Sending love to my indolent sister. Dawdling all the while…
Should we petition Pritzker or Lightfoot on #1’s behalf? I can rouse myself from my indolence to type out something to the powers that be while I sip my iced tea on the patio.
my favorite part of their many-paged protocol (besides the opening paragraph about how COVID is highly contagious and can lead to severe illness or death) is the part where they say that if anyone in the room becomes ill or shows signs of COVID, they will clear the room, sanitize, and then usher everyone right back in. oh great. or maybe my other favorite part is where they mention that if the software crashes and the line for technical assistance gets too long, test takers should just return to their seats and start writing in pen on paper.
i love your protest scenario complete with iced tea and patio.
and as if the news of the day wasn’t awful enough, now we hear the crushing news that RBG has had a recurrence of her cancer. oh, dear lord……
‘a dot of ink’
is like a blink, or a wink…
I love your musik. Words & metre. Your basil pesto is inviting…For decades I made in my blender a WINTER PESTO from Moosewood because moose would if he could—dried basil and substitute fresh spinach instead of the basil; garlic; lemon; oil of olives ITS MEMORIZED my first AND second wives both raved over it! I never slaved over it the inputs varied but twas always a delight. Still YOURS LOOKS B E T T E R. I shall make: “pesto westo” the lake. 🟢💚🟩
Hmmm…..(!) making pesto sans blender.
No blender here at the ranch—I think fine chopping and stir like crazy will work…thoughts from the chair?
if you click on the video you will see they make with mortar and pestle. at mom’s perhaps a sterile hammer and old metal mixing bowl will be your new best friend.
and, as if reading our collective minds, this just popped up on Food52, in which they tested seven — count ’em — ways to make pesto, including hand-chopping, mortar and pestle, blender, food processor. mortar and pestle wins, with a close second by immersion blender…..
T h a n k s aplenty for enlightening me!! ^Ha^again the minus – becomes a plus + . I predict the greater force of me (over electricity) will imbue it with more body n soul from mixing in the steel bowl.
“I really don’t know know clouds at all.”
Since Mom has no blender, h e c k yeah!
“Mother is the necessity of invention” !
Your “too lazy here even for exclamation marks” made me laugh. You are a delight!
I’m going to make my message brief and push “send” now to see whether it actually sends. Still trying to puzzle out my computer issues. Maybe today’s little trial will work. Fingers crossed!
Sending love across the prairie~ xox
Voila!!! Your computer is a friend of lazy daze….
Saw this and immediately thought of you and your boy. From the Sun-Times, but it was the first I saw sure the Trib has it too. https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/7/23/21335898/illinois-bar-exam-delaye-held-remotely-october-coronavirus
indeed! woohoo and hallelujah. many, many prayers answered.