What is the phenomena when something you love in life, rises up and knocks you down? I recently had that experience returning from a writing workshop in Tuscany where we were forever outdoors, well fed, enjoying wine, morning, noon, and night, basking in and absorbing all the natural and artistic beauty, and giving back by way of writing. If I were to design a heaven for myself, this might be it.
My intention in coming home, was good. Something along the lines of I will just try to bring it all back with me. I saw no reason for it to end. I still had my Tuscan magazine piece to finish, and if possible, I would like to feel as inspired here as I did there.
And so upon landing, as soon as I had unpacked all my notes and books and recipes, I flung open the doors of our house and made every effort to turn our little English Tudor in Seattle into an Italian Villa. By slow-cooking our meals, braising beef, veal, pork or lamb, my husband and I would embrace eating and drinking with the same daily seriousness as the Tuscans. And the wine would continue to pour….
That first night I made Balsamic-Glazed Short Ribs, which smelled divine all day but in the end was too rich a dish for us, too late at night. And the wine, whatever happened to the wine, so pure in Italy? I am not the first to suggest that one can drink quite well in Europe with no adverse effect, but come home and…. Well, I suspect additives and preservatives to meet the requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration. I know everyone is currently bent out of shape over privacy issues with NSA, but personally I am much more concerned about this.
In other words, I tried to bring the Tuscan lifestyle home and it didn’t translate. Instead, a perfect storm ensued: the wine hit, food poisoning, and dehydration…. And for what I would describe as a week, though my husband says it was just days, I lay about trying to get some water into me, drop by drop.
I had all that time to think about water.
Where my mind was not allowed to go, however, was to food and drink.
So I thought of a handful of friends who have stopped drinking over the years. You know who you are, I love you, and thank you. You pulled me through and showed me where to go if I ever got out of the trouble I was in.
I may change my mind oneday, but right now I’m pretty passionate. I want to let this gentle “Reign of Water” run its course—and see where it goes. Perhaps it will be my most productive and prolific period yet.
I’ll toast my water goblet to that.