Sweet Abundance: Food for the Stomach and Soul
By Kay Habana
I’m sitting by my window, listening to Frank Sinatra’s Autumn Leaves. I can’t help but feel all gloomy and pensive.
“Maybe I just need a cup of hot cocoa,” so I thought.
No, not really. I don’t fancy hot chocolate drinks. I’m a coffee drinker. Once you chose coffee, you never go back!
For those who know me well know that I’m a natural home-buddy. If work doesn’t call for it, I love to stay home. Aside from mommying my 11-year old big baby, I love to brush up on my reading and whisking potential sell-out recipes in my kitchen for my catering gigs. Christmas is around the corner. The caress of cold air that always leaves me almost motionless, even when I’m inside my apartment, cannot be denied.
The strong gust of wind, the howling, and the invisibility of birds that always chirp on my neighbor’s rooftop are mere signs that the minutest trace of late summer’s warmth is nowhere to be felt, nor seen. This realization somewhat leaves me feeling lonely, and I don’t know why. After all, I am a happy spirit. I have always been. It doesn’t take much to make me smile and giggle. Hmmm, perhaps, I just need to revisit some lanes in my memory bank. Off, I go.
I’m quite aware, I am never alone. I have proven this truth, time and time again, from when I was a child, to when I had my own, and up to this day when in my not-so-olden years, I feel like one.
“God watches over,” this, is what I constantly tell myself. This never fails to give me comfort and hope.
I would often find myself in a quiet and reflective milieu when I return home after dropping off my son at the bus stop. Much as I’d like to help it, it’s inescapable, in that, I am surrounded by sheer beauty, change, vibrant colors, and abundance of possibilities. Yes, these are what autumn brings. Don’t you feel the excitement when you step out and you step on crisp and crunchy fallen leaves? Don’t you get lost in the magical feeling of change? Don’t you get nostalgic in the explosion of colors right before you begging you to just… live— live, laugh, and love?
There’s much about Autumn that I can remember. After all, I grew up in the countryside where the affluence of contrasting hues was everywhere to be seen. Funny how, as I write this, I can almost hear my dad in the background calling me and my sisters to help him rake the leaves, after which, we’d be assured to enjoy Mom’s delicious apple pie; that, or Dad’s home-made strawberry-rhubarb pie. Personally, I always preferred the latter. But don’t tell my mother. She’s very competitive. True story!
Of course, who can forget “Rake Day” in Hudson High? It was probably nothing short of ordinary for my classmates who were born to and raised in such bleak season. But for me, it was illustrious. Every year, classes would be divided into groups of 4 and up, and we would be sent to different houses in which yards we would clean. Yes, we got paid, too! Having come from a country where the celebrated seasons are only Rain and Sun, Autumn then, seemed glorious. Hey, from what I can recall, the closest thing in the Philippines to that of an autumn leaf is a dried jack fruit leaf.
Back in my youth, I had the thrill of skewing these orange-colored leaves into a bamboo or coconut rib, whichever one was readily available. I would pretend they were fish balls and I sold them to my neighbors. Gamely, they paid me 10 cents. Five customers after, I was able to buy me a bag of He-man chips; the best part of it, getting a pat on the back from my Mommy-Lola for a job well done. My reward didn’t end there; it would later on be reported to my Daddy-Lolo and he would happily oblige to buy me a liter of the most dreaded beverage in our home: coke. Haha! No wonder I had lost taste for soda at such an early age. I was introduced to it too early in life, and I also discovered that early that pleasant as it is to the taste, it’s not so pleasant to health. Thank goodness!
Point is: I’m trying to tune into this lovely season as it doesn’t last the whole year. Apart from the obvious metamorphosis in chroma that this interval brings about, we can hardly hold in our grasp the comeliness and symmetry that it brings. The skies strive so hard to be blue, only to appear as purple in waters. It’s the tidbits of late summer that tell us Autumn is here. Yet, before this season comes full circle, the frigid cold of Winter comes knocking on our doors, and we are left catching our breath in hopes to hold on to the last falling leaves from a languid branch of a tree. But, they are gone. It’s at moments like these when I can truly appreciate the balance that Autumn season imparts: the equal portions of day and night, and the truth of impermanence that there is in the world; that I am human and have no dominion over nature which only God had perfectly created. It enables me to preserve a commensurate perspective. It tells me to keep my feet firmly on the ground as I realize my own dearths and mishaps. It helps me value everything I have, just a little bit more, and it teaches me not to take anything for granted.
What more can I say? I am a restless soul that always yearns for change. I have too many questions I have yet to ask, too many places I have yet to travel to, too many journeys I have yet to experience… and yet, all these, in one life to live.
It’s easy to be carried away by the chill of Autumn. I, however, choose its hidden warmth. It’s in there. It just takes digging.
About the Writer:
Kay Habana is a classical singer and a great cook rolled into one. And she is a writer and a
perfectly petite model too. Kay lives in New York City.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Facebook.com/sweethabanacatering