On a Sunday Afternoon...
We had a lovely afternoon today. It was our first opportunity to gather with our closest friends here for Sunday lunch since coming home from Europe at the beginning of September. It’s a tradition that has developed over the last couple of years as our ties have grown stronger. Everyone usually manages to get together around each month or so.
We sit in our friend’s beautiful garden on the Santa Monica and Venice border. The garden and the house itself are a reflection of their wonderful Italian owner and they deserve a spread all of their own with pictures to match - of which more anon! There’s an easy flow of food and conversation and the air hums with a gentle and relaxed happiness as time winds its merry way through the afternoon hours.
This particular afternoon was filled with festivity, not only a recent wedding but three birthdays were celebrated and we had the cake to prove it! From a magnificent Sweet Lady Jane concoction to a Tres Leches from El Pavo Bakery nobody left the table hungry. It was the kick off of my birthday week in fact and it was lovely to share the celebration and happiness.
A few of us lingered to draw out the afternoon inside, lounging in armchairs and discussing sundry matters of business as we’re involved in running the local Buddhist center together. We chatted, batting ideas back and forth, ranging from the possible structure of my father’s next visit to the usefulness of Instagram in advertising Buddhist meditation, questions that make up a large part of the bread and butter of my existence. As we talked and listened to each other, it occurred to me that it is precisely in these moments of seemingly complete ordinariness that something quite profound is occurring. I was suddenly and powerfully reminded of Laura Ingalls Wilder, one of my favorite childhood authors, and the way in which those pioneers of the early days found their sense of home in the simplest of scenarios. This afternoon, with my daughter playing with toys on the floor while adult conversation flowed all about her, I could sense mine.