A Tender Balance

I’ve been listening to a lot of books-on-CD in the studio lately. The most recent was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I loved her novels, and had read this book before, but there was something magical about listening to her soft, slow drawl. It suited the words themselves so well. The book reads like a memoir of a year in her young family’s life, where they try to eat locally for 12 months by growing their own food and buying food grown by their neighbours. Her two daughters, Camille (then 18) and Lily (six), helped by raising chickens and cooking. It was this passage that caused me to pause and listen again:

“Our holiday food splurge was a small crate of tangerines, which we found ridiculously thrilling after an eight month abstinence from citrus. No matter where I was in the house, that vividly resinous orangey scent woke up my nose whenever anyone peeled one in the kitchen. Lily hugged each one to her chest before undressing it gently as a doll. Watching her do that, as she sat cross-legged one morning in pink pajamas, with bliss lighting her cheeks, I thought Lucky is the world to receive this grateful child. Value is not made of money, but a tender balance of expectation and longing.”


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