Returning is a wonderful thing, isn't it? I've been walking around all month, it seems, shaking my head and saying, goodness, it's so good to be back! I left my parents' farm when I was eighteen, lived in cities for eight years, and now I'm back to re-embrace everything I loved growing up. The soundtrack sounds something like reunited and it feels so good, reunited cuz we understood...
It's a pretty sappy time right now. Just ask Patrick.
Things are different for me in a rural place. The background murmur of city traffic--constant but not unpleasant-- is absent, now, and unexpectedly it seems there's a lot more room in my brain, in my senses, for other things. I notice things.
The flea beetles that turn my arugula to green Swiss cheese shine like little jewels in the leaves. The oriole's orange plumage is billboard-bright; his flight into the birches is the most dramatic moment of my day. Everywhere there's something to take interest in: a new weed, a new bug, a birdsong.
Some folks might miss their old friends or their favorite hometown restaurant that went out of business. I just miss the charms of weird little bugs and interesting weeds and bright orioles.
Just about every day I think of a new reason to be happy we're here. This is the life.
Tomato-Feta Pita Pizzas with Arugula (one of our favorite summer meals)
Arrange tomato slices on pitas, and adorn each one with a sprinkle of feta. Toss the arugula with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt, pepper, and a squirt of lemon. Put a quarter-cup of balsamic vinegar in an empty glass jar, and microwave for two minutes. Grill the pitas for five minutes or so, until the bottoms are crispy. Place on a plate, drizzle the balsamic "syrup" over, and top with arugula.