Last week I heard someone say this has been the coldest spring since…and I stopped listening, stopped hearing: too demoralizing. But it’s coming. Can you feel it? I mean not the season itself–not the flouncy skirts or the scant underthings or the towering espadrilles, not the day games or the melted lake or the milky blues or balmy weather–but the heat, the devotions it inspires in us.
I’ve been watching David Foster Wallace’s interview with Charlie Rose from something like 1997. Watching again. That year I was nine years old and he was a long-haired, twitchy thirty five, talking about brass rings. “I’m open to suggestions about what one chases,” he said. He was talking about waking up in the mornings.
Tonight I’m twenty three and he’s been gone almost as long as I’ve known I’d miss him, and I’m still watching him cringe and wring his hands and talk about the gritty day-to-day stuff of living a sustainable life, I mean the stuff of waking up feeling hungry. Which one assumes is not a question he ever found a suitable answer to, brave as he was to ask it.
Not to worry you, reader. I’m not prepared to take a page out of his book, as they say, though there was a tortured wisdom in him worthy of devotion. I only wanted to say that for myself, I’ve found answer enough in heat, in balmy weather, within and without—and it dopes me up with all the necessary reverences and gratitudes morning after morning, season after season.
Sometimes you have to remember to do it, though. To feel lucky.
When the heat comes it’s easy. Effortless. Come spring everyone begins to strut around as if flushed with some happy little secret.
And it makes me wonder if that old cliche about spring is false, if it’s not the earth that comes alive for the season—for if it had died it would be dead—but truly, us. If it’s not just the heat we love, and not blooms or the life in the trees or the characters we make of the clouds, but the corresponding thing in ourselves these beauties make us remember, make us see. Things we had put away in ourselves or maybe forgotten.
Remembering: it helps to wake up to something you’re hungry for. There’s an unassailable logic to an over-the-top good meal early in the morning—it’s a statement of one’s priorities.
You wake up to the thing that blisses you most. Then you do what you must.
When I woke up this morning I’d forgotten it was Easter. The sun was cold and bright, the daffodils out, the trees still leafless. There were tulips on the stoop, though it was Bill’s birthday, not mine, and to celebrate I made us a meal very much like this one.
It’s to rain and thunder this week. But knowing what’s to come lights me up, gives me nerve. It burns like you said, like a cool fire under the skin.
Asparagus, Prosciutto, Poached Egg
Ingredients: (per serving)
- 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed
- 4 slices Prosciutto
- 1 egg
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium-high. Lightly toss asparagus in olive oil, about 1 tsp. Lay asparagus on dry skillet, cook 2 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, poach the egg. Bring a shallow pot of salted water to a simmer. Crack the egg into a bowl. When the water is simmering, stir it with a wooden spoon until a whirlpool forms. Drop the egg in the center of the swirling water. Turn the heat to low. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until whites are fully cooked and the yolks are quivering.
Eggs should always quiver.
When the asparagus is tender, remove to a plate. Season lightly with Kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Lay slices of Prosciutto on top of the asparagus, and the poached egg on top of the Prosciutto. Sprinkle the egg with a bit of salt and pepper. Eat immediately.