One of my oldest and dearest friends joined me yesterday to help me put the house together. He has a good eye for space and design, and I have beautiful possessions, thanks mostly to parents and grandparents and great-grandparents who enjoyed and purchased beautiful things and kindly passed them on to me.
Moving to New Mexico was an odd choice, I admit. I seem more like a New Englander and love that green land. But I have chosen a life and not a title or salary, for the first time in my life. I have chosen work I think Jesus would recognize, spoke about even. And God gave me more green than any human deserves in New Mexico. So we move and we re-pitch our proverbial tent and make a new life. I notice that for the first time in more than a decade, I no longer need the sleeping pills I used to pop at night with a glass of wine – I simply lay down and then awaken when the roosters crow. They call me to the porch and into the day like a harem of dancers arousing their intended.
But what does one cook in New Mexico? So off I wen to the markets. “Cook whatever is fresh and looks lovely,” said the small voice inside me. In the city market where I submitted my application to have a pottery stall, I bought ripe heirloom tomatoes and basil. I also found lavender for the table and oil for a salad dressing and bread for ritual and meal. And good Tequila. And limes. In the Mexican market by my house I found a mind-blowing array of wonders to explore but purchased their skirt steak, salsa, and a combination of chopped peppers. On the farm I picked a few peaches; and plums from a neighbor’s farm.
I seasoned the steak and let it roast after a quick searing. Then sliced the purple tomatoes, drenched them in lavender, lime and oil and sliced the bread. Spooning the juices from the steak onto the bread like my mother used to do, the steak was laid atop it and garnished with the pepper mixture and – voila! A meal.
I wonder if life in not a lot like that meal. If you are living it with people you trust and love, you sleep well. And if you assemble the meal from honest, local ingredients, its own integrity will be the flavor which makes it good and even beautiful and wholesome.
It was a simple meal. It took 5 minutes to assemble. It was enough and it was good. Life, well-lived is enough and good. A friend, good work, ingredients from the land. These are “the good life,” no matter what the ads tell us.