Homecoming

Bodily home from vacation, but my mind is refusing to admit that it’s time to work again. With two writing related project deadlines in September, the beginning of the new school year, and that looming dissertation thing in the background, the time for reluctance and inactivity is over.

Yeah, tell that to my sunbathing motivation and my zinc-nosed inspiration. Since returning home, my productivity has been almost nil.

Far opposite holds true in my backyard. Despite a very, very slow start and still largely unresponsive tomatoes, the garden has rebounded and seems determined to make up for its early uncertainty. Every one of our eight peppers has a small green bell swelling on it. Tiny might-be tomatillos are forming inside wasted flower buds on each of the two plants. Cucumbers and zucchinis, oddly shaped but still tasty, are pushing their way out into the sun. Even the eggplants are growing and fruiting! But the real stars, the real miraculously successful, grocery-store quality items are my pole beans. The first sowing was a failure (too cold), but in the second sowing ten or twelve leaves pushed up out of the ground, and on Monday, as we crawled out of the car after a punishing nine hour drive, at least two pounds of ripe, juicy, six-inch long green beans hung ready from the vines.

What could be better, I thought as I looked at them with grinning awe, than a garden-fresh stir-fry to welcome us home? After two weeks of rich food and restaurant dates, we needed some vegetation in our systems, and here was our own garden graciously willing to oblige!

I started some sticky rice in the rice cooker and ran outside to divest our leafy residents of their harvest.

Eggplant and green bean stir-fry seemed to be the obvious menu choice. I simmered water in a skillet and tossed in the halved green beans, cooking them until they were just tender. Then I drained off the water, added vegetable oil and sesame oil, and tossed in chunks of eggplant and some white sesame seeds. Six minutes later, when the eggplant was juicy and soft and the beans had taken some dark marks from the heat of the pan, I scooped big spoonfuls onto a bed of fresh hot rice, and we ate without talking until every bite was gone.

It’s nice to be home.

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