“My dear Silvaney…for all of sudden when I saw those lights, I said to myself, Ivy, this is your life, this is your real life, and you are living it. Your life is not going to start later. This is it, it is now. It’s funny how a person can be so busy living that they forget this is it. This is my life.” Lee Smith from “Fair and Tender Ladies”
Fair and Tender Ladies is a fictional novel that Abby and I loved. It’s a story about a woman named Ivy Rowe, a Virginia mountain girl later woman then mother who is drawn to the beauty of her natural world. The places she lives have names like Sugar Fork, Blue Star Mountain and Majestic. She also has a calling and a talent to write but little opportunity mixed with a strong pull of family obligation keeps her from discovering true independence and a larger world. The book is written in the form of letters to the various characters in her life…the one most close to her is sister Silvaney, who we as a reader gather is developmentally disabled but Ivy’s heart and soul and closest confidante. The story takes us through Ivy’s life and all she learns along the way.
It’s a beautiful read and now a small but precious memory of our connection. I recently revisited this book and cried many times for Ivy and her identifiable struggles. There was so much of me, so much of Abby in those pages.
And now…here we are. This is our life. We have normalized concepts such as sheltering in place, flattening the curve and social distancing. We have put a pause on our life uncertain what comes next. We are full of anxiety and caution. Today I read the leading corona virus doctor is saying we may never want to shake hands in public again. Wait, what?!! It’s such a crazy time on so many levels for all of us. Right now my emotional body is very heavy and I feel the need to move this energy out. Today I really miss my friend. It is hanging over my heart and chest like a storm cloud making it hard to breathe. I need a good cry….a good hard rain…to let the tears come and wash away the helplessness and the fear and the loss.
This is my life. This is it.
Above is a wonderful recipe for learning the salt lesson of seasoning from within. A salty buttermilk marinade breaks down the proteins of the chicken to produce a tender moist delicious roasted chicken. Take 4 teaspoons of sea salt mixed with 2 cups of buttermilk and add a gallon plastic bag with the chicken pieces of your heart’s desire. Marinate for 24 hours. The following day remove the chicken, scrape off the marinade and roast at 425F for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 400F and continue for another 20-30 minutes more depending on your size. Chicken should be brown with clear juices.