On Wednesday, I learned that John Prine had passed away from complications of the coronavirus. A couple hours later, I sat down to read Gabriella Paiella’s raw and heartfelt tribute, “When I Get to Heaven” playing on my speakers. And I had a good, long cry.
I’m not the most knowledgeable of fans, and I never saw Prine perform live. But I’m the un-casual fan that Paiella describes in her article in that my memories of Prine’s music are all personal and profoundly nostalgic.
When I hear “Angel from Montgomery” or “Please Don’t Bury Me,” I’m transported back to my late teens, driving around with my best friend, Chloe, in her car. More accurately, being a passenger in my best friend’s car, because between the two of us, she’s the one who knows how to drive. And ride a bike. And play sports. And win people over. And throw parties. She’s much, much cooler than me, and among her cool traits is the fact that she’s got great taste in music.
Between high school and college, Chloe gave me an education in contemporary music. I’d only grown up with classical music and show tunes, so literally all of it, from the Rolling Stones to Nirvana, was new. Any knowledge I have of any artist after the year 1920 is thanks to her, a series of musical discoveries scattered throughout Friday night summer car rides up to the Hudson Valley.
When I heard that John Prine had passed, it all hit me at once: missing my oldest friend. Missing those young adult years, which weren’t always happy but were uncomplicated in ways that true adulthood isn’t. Missing the freedom to be with friends, to go places, to roam. The sadness of losing an artist whose work has meant something special, and the fact that he is one of so many people who have left us because of the current pandemic. It was, for a moment, overwhelming.
This is why all of the reminders to slow down, to give ourselves grace, and to take care of ourselves in the midst of this crisis matter. Sticking to a routine is helpful, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re all living through a period of suffering and loss, and we don’t know when it will end or what life afterwards will look like yet.
On any given day, I can be busy enough with simple household tasks and work and keeping in touch with people that I get lost in the flow of things. I don’t forget what’s going on, but I don’t feel afraid or sad, and this is a good thing; it would all feel paralyzing otherwise.
But every so often the seriousness of the pandemic hits me, and when it does, I become aware of the fact that my body knows what’s going on even when my mind is occupied. I was so tired on Thursday that I had to take a day off from everything: my regular quarantine “schedule,” work, responding to texts. All of it. The only thing I did was to listen to some John Prine (the more upbeat tunes—it was helpful to be reminded of how funny his lyrics are).
I’m glad that I let myself do this. I’m going to keep doing it whenever I need to. And I wish with all of my heart that anyone reading will find ways to take care of body, mind, and spirit at this moment, too.
Happy Saturday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
These key lime overnight oats look so refreshing for springtime.
Kathy’s vegan chili mac not only looks delicious, but I love the presentation (usually I mix my chili mac all together, but it’s pretty with the chili part piled on top of the mac).
This batch of seared vegan mushroom and carrot dumplings from the Milk & Cardamom blog looks so delicious.
Finally, I can’t believe how adorable this Easter bunny cake from The Little Blog of Vegan is!
1. I’ve been taking a lot of comfort in poems lately. “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by Adam Zagajewski is one.
2. “Joy,” by Stuart Kestenbaum, is another.
3. Passover began on Wednesday, but this article on hosting a virtual seder is still making me smile.
4. I also smiled to read about Oregon’s “Dear Stranger” annual letter writing project, which seems more poignant and important than ever right now.
5. I really appreciated this Taste roundup of writers on what to cook and how to give back during the COVID-19 crisis.
As you can see, I’m posting Weekend Reading on Saturday this weekend. I woke up this morning calmer and more at peace than I was through much of this week, and that’s given me the thought to post a favorite Easter recipe tomorrow. We’ll see if it actually happens—I treat all intentions flexibly lately. But with any luck, I’ll be back soon 🙂
Happy Sunday, friends. I had a busy weekend of NYC to DC travel (a good friend’s birthday party in New York on Friday night), coupled with some work, some yoga, some enjoyment of the blissfully clear and warm weather here in the District. Here are some recipes and reads that caught my eye over the past few days. Let’s start with the sweet stuff this time. I am going to take Janae completely at her word, and believe that this is the best…
I’m writing this post as I make my way home from a faraway place. I’ll be sharing more about the trip next weekend. For now, I’ll say that this experience has made me grateful on two fronts: grateful for the opportunity to leave home and explore a different part of the world, and grateful to be coming back. It’s the gratitude for home I want to focus on today. Last week, I wrote about my exercise in journaling about things that make me…
Happy Sunday, friends. I hope this weekend reading post finds you staying warm and well. It’s been a hectic few days here, as I finish up a big freelance project in time for the start of my new semester. Amazingly, that semester begins this coming Thursday. It feels as if my first semester just ended, and I wonder if I’ll feel the same way in May, at which point my whole first year will be behind me. When I first told people I was going…
Happy Sunday! If you’re not busy watching the Oscars, I have some delicious and beautiful recipes to share with you, along with some thought-provoking reads. To begin with, check out the absolutely electric colors in this crunchy salad. Yum! These Italian flavored vegan green “peaballs” look absolutely terrific. I’d love to serve them with some orzo or over risotto. Warm up on a cold night with a spicy, warming, and oh-so-cozy cup of masala chai hot chocolate. Wonderful. For dessert, let’s start with…