Sunday, March 16, 2008

What You Give

I have spent much of the last three days preparing for a farewell dinner party for my co-worker, PJ, who is moving to Houston with her family in a few weeks. Amber and I have shopped and planned and finally, yesterday we began cooking. With great encouragement from my mentor, David, I prepared a meal of champagne apricot chicken stuffed with spinach and cheese, served over a bed of lemon-butter pasta with a side of steamed asparagus. It's been a fearful experience, especially since I basically cooked for 15 people, a number far greater than I've ever cooked for before. And luckily, we somehow pulled it off. The meal was delicious (thank you once again, David, for all your advice and support) but the best part, the part that will be remembered is how we all just sat and talked afterward. PJ was amazed that we'd gone to so much trouble for her and that so many people showed up to wish her well. "You get what you give," I told her when we hugged, and I believe that. We receive whatever we put out there in the world.

I was a bit late getting home, or rather, later than I should've been considering Duncan hadn't been let out in nearly eight hours. I was anxious to take care of him, but not exactly excited to walk because the night has turned cold and wet, misty with halos around the lights (like the Illinois nights I fell in love with during college) and the snow is just beginning to fall. Im tired, my heads hurts, my wrenched neck and back are still not happy with me and my belly is warm and full. Walking in the cold is not high on my list of priorities.

But I did it. I came home to a dancing, chirping dog who, despite smelling Amber's dogs on me, was overjoyed to see me, as though I'd been gone for weeks. He jumped up on me, wagged his bum back and forth, and when I knelt down, slathered my face in kisses. Almost immediately my reservations about the walk were gone. I wanted to take him out, wanted to be with him, wanted to experience the night. So we leashed up, grabbed the poop bags and walked down the lawn.

The night was quiet with only a few cars sluicing up water out on the street. The street lights reflected off a million droplets and painted the cement in green, red and brief splashes of gold. The grass, still greening, slowly but surely, finally felt springy rather than crisp and the cool air was good on my cheeks after sitting in Amber and Jesse's warm living room. A rabbit darted past us and we followed him a ways before turning back. We stood near the fence looking out over the park, shrouded in mist, its darkness broken by intermittent pools of gold light and I felt warmed by the thought that we were alone in our noticing of the silence, which so few people experience.

"You get what you give," I told PJ, but I could've told Duncan the same thing as he sat down beside me, pressing his warm body against my leg, his hip resting comfortably on the top of my foot, the two of us watching the world be the world and the night be this night.


Lori said...

Oh, YUM! If I come visit in October, will you make that champagne chicken thing for me??? I can't eat as much as 15 people, but I will drag leftovers to my hotel!!!

Curt Rogers said...

Should you visit in October I'll make you anything your heart desires, as long as my mentor, David, can walk me through it, that is!