LAKE MACBRIDE— Reaching for the two empty quart Mason jars in the cupboard, I filled them, and another pint— with daikon radish pickles. Rather, there will be pickles once the mixture of sliced daikon, vinegar, filtered water, salt, agave nectar, mustard seed, peppercorns, garlic cloves, jalapeno and Serrano peppers has been in the refrigerator a few days. The kitchen work was finished before 4 a.m.
There is more to the story of a sleepless night. Perhaps there was solid sleep, but after midnight, it would not return. As the screen from the mobile phone illuminated the room, I found a recipe for pickles in my twitter feed. The ingredients were in the refrigerator and pantry. The allure was too much, the daikon radishes too many. I turned on the light and started to get busy.
The day was ruined after that. Not enough sleep. A couple of hours at a farm planting garlic, then to town to get a gallon of milk and some limes. An afternoon of dozing in and out of activity. No dreaming. That’s the worst of it.
For if dreams kept me awake that would be good. Instead, it was a restless night of pickles, such restlessness leading to a day of discontent, and dreamless wonder— wondering about what’s next. Was it concerns of advancing age, with a spicy pickle to distract from quotidian blandness? No, it was the idea of pickles, as they were just made, not ready to eat. Not what I’d hoped for when I was young, this imaginary pickle making life.
As the sun moves toward the horizon, the day is coming back to life. The pickle disruption is over, with ingredients melding in the refrigerator. Fully awake, filled with wonder, I’m ready to take on a project. My restless pickle-making finished, at least for now.