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Into 2009

[Lunch, January 2009.]

In these early days of the baby year anything is possible. I swear the sun shines brighter and the waves crash and beat against the rocks with more force — last night, the sun sank down under the horizon into the sea in a flaming brilliance I have never quite seen before; the crescent moon swung over the cypress trees opposite, like a still and shining ship — and the clouds pile up at the end of the streets of this steep city like barely whipped cream. The air is charged with possibility and hope.

Well, it is for me anyway.

Sunday morning at the end of yoga class I lay on my mat feeling my muscles stretched good and sore under my skin. We’d done a lot of strength exercises (working on making that core as tough as possible) and bridge poses — When you do back exercises it helps to open up your heart, my teacher said, and that’s something I shall remember — and I was pretty glad to have a few minutes of rest. Often at the end of class, held motionless in the warm darkness, I feel as though my mat is a little glowing island — that it’s just me in the vast universe of the unknown sailing serenely on. Other times it feels like a little magic carpet carrying me over plains and desert, sweeping silently across the earth without touching down. Where will it take me?, I wonder in these few moments of precious stillness. And, Where will this next year take us all?

The first place it will take me, I reckon, is hurtling forward into January. The holidays passed in a flash, a blur of good wine and even better food (Christmas dinner: roasted cauliflower, mushroom risotto, lamb, roasted vegetables, lemon cake; Boxing Day dinner with the neighbors: my mom’s pasta with gremolata and squash; the New Year’s Eve extravaganza; a New Year’s day dinner of veal, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, sauteed portabellos; and of course pick-me-up meals of soup, spinach pasta, and and and.) and suddenly it is the fifth already, with a four-day weekend looming on the horizon just next week. Hello sweet January, I hope you shall bring good things to all of us.

I’ve decided: 2009 is going to be the year of leaping head-first into whatever comes. I won’t hold back. I anticipate eating lots of cheese and, conversely, quinoa; I feel it can’t be helped. I’m going to say it all (look out!). I’m going to travel as much as time and money allows. I’m going to take weekends to write and read and drink tea. I’m going to open my heart even if it gets a little bruised; I know it’s worth everything, and I can handle it. I’m going to run along the crashing ocean in the sun as much as possible. I’m going to take more chances. I’m going to indulge in pretty, tender greens, just because.

After class I stopped by my usual organic store just to pick up a few things since I missed the Saturday market; I got some mushrooms, some tofu, a bag of potato chips, an avocado. I also got a small container of pea shoots because … well, I don’t really know why but they just looked good. I had a lot of leftover hummus in my fridge from the party and I thought that for lunch all I would like was a bit of bread smeared with a good amount of hummus, avocado, and topped with a tangle of greens. It felt healthful, it felt fresh and new, it felt just right as the first proper lunch in my own place to usher in this next year.

The crumbs of the old year have been swept away, the packaging bundled away into the recycling bin, my apartment scrubbed clean and shining but missing its visitors of the past little bit. I am thinking of Maine and London and Jerusalem and points East, and hoping we can all connect sooner rather than later. In these first weeks, everything is still and bare and burnished by that precious winter sun that comes out when we are very lucky; like the ocean on the day after Christmas, the tide is high and full of portent if we are only brave enough to embrace it.

So then:

Dearest 2009,

We have eagerly anticipated you with breathless hope and lots of wishes. When the clock turned to 12 a. last Wednesday night we all breathed deeply and raised a glass and hugged and cheered a little. We are so grateful you are here. I think all of us will promise to do as right by you as we possibly can, and we ask you very humbly to grant us peace and quiet joy and all the happiness our hearts can hold.

Hey — how about you have our backs and we’ll have yours? Deal? Great. See you in 12 months.



  1. Oooh, I love that cup! And this year is definitely going to be one to remember. I’m right there with you, sistah!

  2. as one who also goes forth into the world with the volume of my thoughts, heart, and dreams turned up, you’re gonna be fine. i recover really fast when i realize we’re all the same and not everyone can meet me where i am. but those who do? whoa… it’s worth being exposed. vulnerability being strength is sooo true! so good luck.

  3. i’m leaping right along w/you…
    here’s to a fabulous ’09!! and many more years of bff-ness and delicious foods and awesome visits, wherever they are.
    hearts! <3

  4. Happy New Year Nicolina. It’s my first time here and I am really glad to find you in Foodbuzz. Hope all your new year’s resolutions are fulfilled.

  5. Hello,
    I found your blog through NPR last month and have enjoyed it so much ever since. Such a lovely perspective on the coming year. Best wishes for 2009.

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