Sometimes, life is like pasta – in the simplest moments, when the heart is set free to enjoy the little things it loves, life is served up al dente, or ‘to-the-tooth’. In these simple moments, taking it in, (life that is) is like savoring rich, warm pasta, that is soft in the mouth, but still has a firmness that feels so right.
In these al dente moments, there is a rightness to life, an alignment where one feels so much a part of the ebb and flow, of the community, of the day. It’s like life and you have settled down for a warm meal and you enjoy each other’s company. The surroundings don’t need to be posh, and what’s happening doesn’t have to be good and big and splashy. Life is just there, served up to be savored.
A few months ago, I had a meal with my honey, Jeff, where life was served up just this way.
Jeff and I were in the city, San Francisco. We had come from Berkeley, to enjoy the annual fleet week, where the Blue Angels put on a show over the San Francisco Bay, using the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz as their stage props. Unusual for October, the day was gray and foggy, and really cold.
When the show was over we trudged up from the Marina to Chestnut street, ready for a hot meal. It was only a few minutes before 5:00, but we were cold and hungry. I remembered a place to eat that we had been to once before – E’ Angelo Trattoria. Fortunately, they opened at 5:00 on Sundays. We made our way there. By the time we entered, there was only one table available – so surprising for 5:00 on a Sunday.
The restaurant is very traditional Italian. The wait staff is Italian by birth, and that day many of the patrons were Italian. Ever since I spent three months studying in Florence, I have so enjoyed moments when I get to have a taste of Italy here in the States, even if just for a meal. That day, there seemed to be lots of kids out with their grandparents, one group sitting right next to us. It’s such a sweet sight to see two elderly people, totally enjoying their young grandchildren.
The special that night was Beef Short Ribs and Pappardelle. Now, I hardly ever eat pasta…only when I’m in Italy. But, this night Jeff and I both ordered the special. This is when life served up the most amazing meal, al dente. I can still taste the flavors of this amazing dish. The pasta was just right, and had been blessed with a virgin olive oil and seasoning that melted right in my mouth. Pappardelle comes from a verb that means to ‘gobble up’.
For some reason, everything just came together that night. Life served up a rich, beautiful moment, and I was lucky enough to notice and take it in.
Day 2- Gwen Bell’s blog challenge, Best of 2009