Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Connoisseur of life

This practice of learning to see has many flavors. I suppose it's not unlike developing my taste buds to the point of subtle distinction, like a connoisseur. A connoisseur of life.

Some tastes are more palatable than others. Tastes linger on the tongue, pleasant and soft, bold, bitter, sharp, mild, full-bodied, complimentary, fruity, tangy, tart, crisp, sweet, exotic, familiar, nostalgic, savory, earthy, peculiar, mysterious, rich, creamy, hearty, soothing, refreshing, warming, spicy, tantalizing, smoky, nutty, invigorating, clean. So many options for taste; and then, add in the layers of texture, aroma and context.

Such is the complexity of a moment experienced and savored as a gift of unique flavor. How often do I stop and savor even the mundane flavors, fill myself up with thanks for even these?

But today. Today I'm savoring a moment from yesterday. Not a serious, profound, contemplative moment, but an important moment nonetheless. A let-myself-shake-from-the-belly-and-fill-up-with-the-humor-of-simple-things kind of moment. I savor the flavor of this humor.

In the form of a staunch chihuahua named Fez.

The vet scolds, saying he should be around seven pounds instead of his nearly double that size. He's happy, king of the house, announcing his presence to us at the dinner table. At our feet, unseen, sending up pleas for a taste of Korean barbecue. He waits, until he can wait no more. Until his little white body covered in black splatters, a bandana of black fur around his neck, quivers with all that is in him. He's rescued, brought up to the lap, sitting a head above the table top.

Pink tongue, too long to roll up in his mouth, hangs out between his lips. My shoulders shake, laughter escapes. I try to listen, pay attention to conversation, but he captivates me, looking so pitiful, near bursting with emotion.

A high-pitched moaning yip escapes, like a hiccup. One, then another. His family encourage him, "Say 'I love you', Fez," in high-pitched voices.

Yip yip yip! Ry ruv ru! He's saying it, I'm sure! He's wound up, now releasing, till he gets it all out. Blessed relief.

He's rewarded with a small taste of barbecued beef. And I keep laughing, thanking, for even this moment. Especially this moment.

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