June 30, 2010

To begin with: soup.

At the start of the summer, I straggled, sleepy-eyed, out of a haze that had settled over myself and my habitat, making my way to San Francisco for a visit with my dear friend, Diana. My first year of graduate school was (strangely, unbelievably, exhaustingly) complete. Library books, post-it notes, and other remnants of a paper-writing fiasco still littered my desk, floor, walls, and yes, they had even invaded my bed.

Although Boston had become home to me over the course of the past year, I knew that as soon as the last page of my last paper finally spat out of my cranky printer, it was time to hit the road. Sometimes going away is all it takes to remind you how sweet it is to return.

I soon found myself catapulted out of the semesterly daze into a whole different kind of fog. San Francisco was refreshingly chill (in demeanor and in temperature), so I wrapped myself in a summery sweater as I set out each morning to explore. With flip-flops and a big, clunky camera, I probably looked like such a tourist. As far as I could tell, though, no one seemed to mind.

Over the course of the week, I experienced countless spectacular views, delightful bookstores, vast museums, and decadent meals (including a gigantic, heavenly soufflé). When I returned home, however, I was surprised to find that my trusty camera yielded a rather random assortment of photos commemorating the trip. In lieu of Golden Gate bridges and magnificent soufflés, I found images of quirky street signs, a friendly garbage man, and in the photo above, soup. I'm happy to report that I was far from disappointed. In fact, the little soup photo proved to be my favorite.

I was meeting Diana at a café for a quick bite after my long day of exploring and her long day at work. Soon other friends and acquaintances would trickle in for a book club, but in the meantime, I ordered soup and settled in for a friendly chat. I don't remember what kind of soup—perhaps carrot and ginger—but it was the kind of soup that's a little orange and a little sweet and not too watery and not too creamy. And it was the kind of chat that's easy and wandering and not too rushed, because with old friends you seem to have all the time in the world.

As I looked back at the photo, I realized that I must have taken a breath to pull out my camera and enjoy the little things that make life wonderful. Like soup and friendship. Like poetry and pomegranates.

So here's a quick list of my latest favorite little things...

the secret to seeding a pomegranate: simply cut it in half and submerge it in a big bowl of water. some of the seeds will float to the top, and the rest are easily loosened with minimal mess.

waterproof journals: these magical notebooks were created by Rite in the Rain for "outdoor professionals." even those who are neither archaeologists nor lumberjacks could surely benefit from the spill- and rain-proof paper.

reading in bed: enough said.