It has been raining, off and on, how it does in the Willamette Valley, for several days now. We’ve replaced the white lights that hang under the “light shelf” in my classroom so there is enough light to read by near the windows in the early morning. We have all stared at the skylight when a downpour roared through in the middle of class one afternoon. We are all a little damp, little swelled up on the edges, like the mosses and lichens that hang from the trees on the refuge south of town. Rain.
Yesterday was Parent Teacher Conferences, which always make me ill. For eight to twelve hours, depending upon the year, I perch on a hard plastic chair in the cafeteria, peering at an endless stream of parents, feeling ambushed because you just never know what is on their minds. Honestly, 95 percent of the interactions are positive— after years of practice, I am good at defusing parent worries, and the only parents who come are either very proud of their student and just want to check in or really worried about their student and need some help. Once we move past that thirty seconds of “Who is this stranger suddenly in front of me?” it’s ok. And even the surreal ones, that happen every few years, are helpful. But that constant talking, constant being on and focused, is exhausting, psychically and mentally. And my butt hurts from the chair.
I took a walk in the rain this morning to shake the conferences from my head. It was misty and windy when I left the house, and, half way to the river, it poured for a few blocks. I was wearing my ancient, Lost and Found box at school black sweatshirt, so old and shrunk tight that it is almost waterproof. It is my winter coat. Add a wooly hat and scarf, and it is fine in January. Push the sleeves up a bit, and it is comfortable in April. Perfect for October rains. The rain washed down my face and covered my glasses, so I walked into a blurry world. No problem. I know the way. A toddler, fascinated with a puddle, called hello before stamping in the water as his grandmother watched, totally in love. I chatted with an old colleague waiting on a porch. Leaves danced along the pavement. Deep breaths. The air smelled of ocean, and forest, and earth all tumbling together—home.
Down by the river, a cab driver napped in his car, waiting for a call. No one else was around. Ducks, mostly mallards, chatted by the water. A few drifted downstream, then paddled back to the group before sliding away once more. A gravel bar was slowly disappearing as the river rose from the upstream rains. Grey green water swirled around the bridges, carrying small bits of debris to the ocean. Downtown, a few neon signs glowed in the grey day, but the path was empty. No one was really up and around yet, except for the cooks, chopping onions and frying garlic for lunch, and the bread bakery, which smelled of yeast and baking wheat. I swung inland and homeward, dreaming of another cup of tea and my new book.
There will be months of rain.
Another layered dish....
Take two large cans of chopped tomatoes, add garlic and onion, and simmer until the onion is tender.
Chop a delicata squash into small cubes. Chop a large bunch of kale.
Mix about a cup of mozzarella and a cup of ricotta cheese together.
Find the large casserole pan. This is the order:
1/2 ww lasagna noodles, not cooked. They will cook in the oven.
All of the veg
Bake until the squash is tender. Let it sit for a while to firm up before cutting.