I spend a lot of time seeking miracles outside my home, whether it's the perfect graffiti message, inspiring local events or the tiny magic places no one knows about.
Maybe it's because autumn is really starting to settle down in my bones and the early edge of winter and darkness is here. Maybe it's the foggy-gloom that makes home feel more homey. Either way, the past few weekends in San Francisco have reminded me not to overlook the Urban Miracles that exist in my own home and the querencia that can be found in this funky Victorian apartment above Church Street. In the Spanish language, the word querencia describes the feeling of home, "the wanting place", the place in which we are most ourselves. I am learning how to build and re-build querencia in my life every single day.
I recently started reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and it's rocking my world. The general basis behind the book is a story of a family (the author's) who chooses to spend a year living off the land in the southern Appalachia Mountains. Their goal is to eat mostly locally-grown food (their own or their friends') and to truly get in sync with the earth, mother nature and her seasonal gifts. They explore, in their own way, the idea of designing their own Querencia from the land they live on. Along with her own, her husband's and her 19 year-old daughter's narratives, Kingsolver includes the seasonal recipes she creates as she watches her land turn from spring to summer, autumn to winter.
Reading this book has pushed me to spend a bit more time at the Noe Farmer's Market which is held each Saturday down the street in the (only) parking lot in my neighborhood. It's prompted me to seek out seasonal recipes and to turn the stove back on. It has reminded me of the power that a home-cooked meal, good wine, and friends can have on a drained spirit.
Last weekend, I gathered the ingredients for my favorite autumn recipe: Roasted Garlic, Potato & Leek Soup (thank you, Whole Foods). I found every single ingredient at the farmer's market and spoke to the farmers who grew them. I now know most of them by name. The soup cooked on the stove all day and friends stopped by whenever they could for a warm bowl and fresh bread. The whole house was enveloped in the earthy-sweetness of simmering leeks & garlic. Some people burn sage to turn negative energy into good. I cook leeks. And drink wine.
There's something truly magical about leaving a pot cooking all day, filling the house with music and watching the fog roll in across the Twin Peaks hilltops. There's something incredible about living with, and a few houses from, close friends. There's something to be said for slowing down...and staying home.