American Apparel’s model, age 62.
There was something so compelling about Jacky’s look and energy when we first spotted her in a New York restaurant this winter, we introduced ourselves and pulled up a chair. During a long discussion that touched on everything from career choices and nutrition to insights on relationships, age and beauty, we asked if she would consider being photographed by us. We were thrilled when she agreed.
There are those days when everything must be planned, when the need to curate and control outweighs the child-like desire to greet the world with open palms.
And then there are the days when life sweeps you up in a barely outlined event, when the wind is just right and the sun just so and the company floating on a wave of skill-less camaraderie.
The latter perfectly describes a day I spent driving through the Redwoods and along the Oregon Coast a couple of weeks ago. It was my brother’s birthday and in an uncharacteristic move, he decided he wanted to spend that day in an intimate group, just doing something in a lovely environment. There were no real plans, no expectations. Only the hope of a good picnic and some beautiful shared experience. We had all of that and more.
We picnic-ed by the river and basked in what felt like the first sun after a long winter. This was his birthday cake. A flourless chocolate cake from our local food co-op and some yummy fruit spread. We used to eat these cakes growing up and there is a sort of nostalgia in them for me. They are simply delicious. There was something lovely, too, about having such a simple cake, having the cake be an afterthought rather than some over-wrought experience. And when we realized we forgot the candles, I gave him a twig from a nearby bush to make a wish on. Sort of like a wish-bone.
We found rocks! So many surprisingly colored rocks and geodes and crystals. We filled our shirts with them and our pockets and our bags. I’m hoping to make a terrarium.
The sun and the spare greenery and the ultra blue river put everything into such stunning relief. I felt calm and at home.
The loose idea was to spend the day at the coast, but we found ourselves so enjoying the river and the rocks that we passed quite a bit of the afternoon there, giggling and wandering barefoot along the riverside. As the sun began to set, we arrived at the beach and stumbled through the wind to climb more rocks and absorb the final moments of daylight and beach. I felt so lucky to be an Oregonian.
This place will always feel like home.
"The main barrier standing between ourselves and a local-food culture is not price, but attitude. The most difficult requirements are patience and a pinch of restraint, [virtues we apply] selectively: browbeating our teenagers with the message that they should wait for sex, for example. Only if they wait to experience intercourse under the ideal circumstances (the story goes), will they know its true value. Blah blah blah, hears the teenager: words issuing from a mouth that can’t even wait for the right time to eat tomatoes, but instead consumes tasteless ones all winter to satisfy a craving for everything now."
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
I bought these strawberries last week at the Saturday Market. This was my first venture into conscious, local, grocery shopping. I said “hello” to every farmer who made my produce come to life and I’m amazed by the joy I get from that. For the week that followed, almost every meal was comprised in large part of food grown within 100 miles of my house. I’ve felt more satiated than I can every remember.
A strawberry never tasted as sweet.