I wanted to run today, this summer day. I wanted to pound pavement and exhaust my lungs. I wanted to run, much like a jackrabbit runs, with a fleeting heart and feet just as fast. I wanted to run, like I knew exactly where I was going, but truly knew that I was lost as could be. And I wanted to be okay with that. With being lost. There are days when my stars are in perfect alignment, and then there are days where I must fill the space between them, and reconnect my constellations. There’s a string, that holds me together, and it is fringed and weary, as well as are my legs from keeping it taut. Running is hard for me. And, I usually find it easier to deal with things that are mentally hard, than physically hard. So, instead I wrote.
There is a burning in my soul that demands to consume. Of what; of passion, of feeling, of wanderlust, of need. Greed, I’m always greedy. Whichever have you, it demands to consume and I am smoldered, reduced to ashes; embers of something much greater than myself. Because, with all the vast beauty of the world to compete with, we are really quite small, and have every right to feel so. But it is just as much of our right to burn in these ashes of flame and heart. I want to wither in my writing, my words, the way I move through people like a gust; a feathered kiss, barely touching the skin. You can choose what moves you, and what does not. You can choose to fight the fire within yourself, to deny yourself; or you can let it gut and raze you to the bone, until there’s nowhere else to go, to be, but up. It’s science, friends. And while science is not the end-all, it makes quite a lot of sense in this flaming affair: Heat always rises.
I don’t understand a lot, but a lot doesn’t understand me either. It’s a mutual relationship that I and a lot have. Those things that are burning beneath my skin: passion, feeling, wanderlust, need, want, greed. Love. Occasionally science. They rise and fall from my life, like the rooks, like the ocean ripple, like a feather monsoon. I can choose to let them consume me, or merely brush by, barely noticed. We become so twisted, like vines, red vines that grasp and seize and choke our threshold. If only we could unclench ourselves to the things that hold us down, then we might rise, like rooks and the tides and the rest of it all. Or like flames that smolder and die, and always rekindle from the burning in our souls that first beseeched us.
So, no, I do not understand a lot. I ask questions, like why, and who, and all of those wonderful W’s. I almost never know, or get to know, the answer. That, however, does not stop me from asking. I know that heat rises, but I can’t tell you why, just as much as I can’t tell you why the moon shines at dusk and the sun comes at dawn, or how something as preposterously large as a watermelon grew from a blackened pit, (It’s because there’s nowhere else to go but up.) or, an entire human, for that matter. The world is a mortal mystery, a blessing, and a curse. A place of blissful abyss, it is. There are few greater oblivions than the one in which our horizon is ever-changing. And, how ever-changing we all are; there is not a day that goes by in which my desire in life does not change. The days are infinite, but certain days in themselves are, however we much we will them to be, not. Within these days, I have no guarantees in what is handed to me. In spite, I do have a conscious decision in how to handle them when they arrive.
Today I carried this watermelon, like a bad lump in the back of my throat. What on earth do you do with a watermelon, besides pull out your Grandma's vintage melon scooper and spend 2 hours mastering the art of melon balling? I took it out in the heat, where the air was hot and grasping, and water ran down both our spines. When all was said and done, I sat down by a tree to write about this bulging piece of rosy flesh and rind. I remember, when I was very young, there were such stories, conspiracies, about how, if you ate the black seeds of a watermelon, a watermelon tree would grow in the pit of your stomach. It would grow, and you along with it, until you were nothing but a ball of pink juice, with black pits for eyes and a watery washed-up brain. And with that image in my head, I wrote this poem. I wasn’t going to post it, but when I expressed my doubts I was told to just ‘go with it.’ And I was reminded of something Robert Frost once wrote: “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.” I spent about 5 minutes on it, so don’t expect much; it was enough to swallow the sense of wrong that was, seemingly, growing and growing like a watermelon seed swallowed down the other pipe. I felt lost, and I wanted to be okay with that. So I wrote. It really is silly, I know, (I blame it on the heat) but also a bit gruesome if you think too hard about it. So don’t. Just go with it.
Watermelons and oatmeal aren’t exactly the perfect couple. At first. Watermelon is sloshy and weak, and can be more than a tad insipid. Oatmeal is, basically, a polar opposite what with its’ robust repertoire and the way it sticks to your ribs. Not only that, but oatmeal has the tendency to greedily absorb whatever you put into it. This includes our feeble friend, the watermelon. Pureeing the pink flesh of the fruit, along with some milk and oats, creates a deliciously thick and creamy pulp, that looks apt on top a silky jar of overnight oats. The two do not melt together like your regular x and y foods, but take on an entirely novel flavor, both crisp and creamy. I’ve made this with and without mint, and have had lovely results either way. Adding mint enunciates that crisp summertime air, that clean easy breezy feel that blooms on the tongue just as the eglantine blooms both hearty and free, seen on your way out the door. You might even have time to stop, swoon, and hover over their pollen on your way out the door, considering this recipe can all be made the day before.
And guys, I promise. The seed conspiracy? It's a lie.
- about 1/2 cup watermelon
- 1/4 cup milk of choice
- 2 tbsp. oats
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup or sweetener of choice
- 1/2 cup oats
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup milk of choice
- 1/4- 1/2 tsp. mint extract (optional, see notes above)
- watermelon, to top
- mint to garnish
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the watermelon, milk, oats, and sweetener of choice (first 4 ingredients). Blend them until the mixture is thick and the oats are, for the most part, broken up.
In a bowl, jar, or dish, combine the oats, salt, milk, and mint. Stir or shake until thoroughly mixed. Layer on some watermelon if you wish, or leave it for the top. Pour on the watermelon mixture, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, the oats and watermelon should have seeped into one another. Stir it up a bit more to distribute the flavors. Garnish with mint, if desired, and enjoy crisp and cold.