Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Salad For the Birds

The old man on the park bench sat hunched over like a giant navy blue sack waiting to be taken out. I noticed him as I took my hand off of the back of my head and reached up to swat a mosquito that was about to plunge his stinger into my raised leg. He was in my line of vision, but I had been so focused on crunching out sit-ups that he didn't even register. If it weren't for the gentle rising and falling of his breath, I might have mistaken him for a pile of stained clothes. Grass stuck to the backs of my arms, and I had to consciously try not to think about how many dogs are walked daily in that particular park. It was just about mid-dawn, prime transition time between exercise walkers and newly showered walk-to-work employees. Stacia, my work out partner, looked up from her kettle bell.
"I smell pot" She said.
"Yeah, me too. Where's it coming from?" I looked up and around. There was a woman sitting at the bus stop. She was staring at us. There were too men standing in front of the bar across the street. They had crew cuts and were smoking cigarettes wearing khaki cargo pants and sunglasses. They were also staring at us. I kept scanning the scene. There were a few people walking by with gym bags, a woman walking her dogs, there was a man in a suit with a briefcase. They were all looking at us. I had a moment of paranoia, why is everyone staring?? Do they think we are the pot smokers?

Stacia lifted her kettle bell and swung it in between her legs, then raised it high. That's when I realized why people were staring. It's not usual for two young looking woman to be swinging large iron balls around at 6:30 am in the heart of the financial district of a city. Standing in our little patch of grass in the middle of a concrete sea, we were an island of oddities. The pot smoke coming from the bench was business as usual for this park. By the time we were leaving, the man had already moved from his spot. He left behind a wide scattering of bread crumbs, and the squirrels and birds were enjoying a banquet feast.

"Why does it seem like it is always the hungry and homeless people who feed the birds? I mean, wouldn't you think that the people who have money would be the ones who want to share their food?" Stacia asked.
"Huh, I never thought about it that way. Maybe they can empathize with the little guys, or maybe they just have more time on their hands." I thought about how it's funny what we value in life. Pieces of paper that we trade for things that we have to put places and clean constantly. What a luxury it would be to sit in the shady park all day, watching the squirrels and the birds. I suppose I would get restless with that life before too long. Stacia and I lugged our kettle bells inside, and parted ways to put on our costumes and join in on the flood of people going to work.

Salad For the Birds
Mix together
1/2 cup green leaf lettuce,
1/2 cup red leaf lettuce,
1/2 cup arugula,
1/2 cup snow pea pods,
1/2 cup snap pea pods,
1 purple carrot,
1 white carrot,
1 orange carrot
This is basically the stuff that came in my CSA bag.

1 cup mixed varieties of basil or just straight up basil
2 green onions
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp raw honey
salt and pepper to taste

Christina's vote: "This salad made me feel well"

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