This video with audio commentary was shot in the Bay Area on September 9, 2020, a day when the skies were orange and the smoke from twenty-eight California fires blotted out the sun. The video length is about eight minutes. Subtitles recommended.
In the weeks before this video was shot, almost one thousand homes burned down in a a fire thirty miles away. Since then, over six hundred homes have burned in Oregon. Major fires continue to burn throughout the region, including Washington, Montana, and Idaho.
The people I was concerned about were still ‘at home’, but felt a similar melancholia as that caused by nostalgia connected to the breakdown of the normal relationship between their psychic identity and their home. What these people lacked was solace or comfort derived from their present relationship to ‘home’. In addition, they felt a profound sense of isolation about their inability to have a meaningful say and impact on the state of affairs that caused their distress. ‘Solastalgia’ was created to describe the specific form of melancholia connected to lack of solace and intense desolation.
Mallarmé in a Moment
I'm living inside the joy — it's yours and theirs as well
For me it's an old-hat miracle, treacly and hard-won,
That took a long time
The recognition — just like Paris: you or they
Need to go there by yourself
So I'm sorry when I allude to anything about this
That makes it seem facile or even possible
But oh my torn insides if I or you or they
Wake up to the splendor
On at least one day
Nothing Left to Say
Healthy One Pot Comfort Food
Adapted from a recipe at NYT for Cacio e Pepe, a simple yet notoriously challenging dish to prepare. This is an easy alternative.
2 C farro (semi-pearled cooks faster but is somewhat less nutritious)
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 1/2 C very finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan or combination
1 1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 C cold water
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Grate cheese while waiting.
When water comes to a boil, add bay leaf, a generous amount of salt, then the farro.
While farro cooks, add pepper and water to cheese and, using an immersion blender, blend into a loose paste.
When farro is al dente, drain with sieve or colander, reserving 1 1/2 C of cooking water.
Return farro to pan and add 3/4 C cheese paste and 1/2 C reserved cooking water. Stir vigorously to coat grains. Taste and add more cheese and/or water to taste and until you achieve a consistency pleasing to you. (I like it somewhat dry but more risotto-like would be pleasing as well).
Eat straight out of the pan.
Alternatively, share with others and serve with sides of whatever you have on hand, such as tomatoes & basil salted with olive oil; corn sliced from the cob and sautéed with butter and thyme; blanched snap pea salad with feta, lemon, and mint; zucchini sautéed in olive oil with basil; broccoli steamed then sautéed with garlic and red pepper...you get the idea.
Snoqualmie Falls on a high water day, by C. Hudak.
Make art and/or writing. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish submissions in this ezine or in our first limited edition handbound chapbook.
Behind a Door welcomes your feedback.