Dreaming of Zakuski

Storm Damaged Tree

Storm Damaged Tree

LAKE MACBRIDE— In a perfect world, friends would come over and we’d share vodka, zakuski and conversation for an evening.

Even though we have a bottle of Stolichnaya Vodka purchased in the 1980s in the basement (an inch or so has evaporated), and the fixings for a dozen or more little plates in the refrigerator and pantry, getting intoxicated by sweet, sour and savory hors d’oeuvres following shots of vodka is not going to happen.

Yet I imagine—damn you frontal lobe, your machinations and your dreams.

But there it is. In chilled small shot glasses, a dose of vodka followed by a homemade multigrain cracker spread with pesto.

An interlude of conversation while the next course is prepared.

A shot of vodka, and a small plate of beets and daikon radishes pickled with jalapeno peppers. More conversation.

A shot of vodka, and a tiny ceramic cup with rhubarb crisp. More conversation and a slight buzzing sensation.

A shot of vodka. A mixture of Kalamata olives, pickled chard stems and capers, served on small plates from the thrift store. And so it would go.

Except it’s not going to happen. The toll of vodka would be too much, though the conversation and releasing of inhibitions tempting. Who in today’s consumer society pays a visit to chat with zakuski? If our doorbell rings at all, it is a canvasser, not friends seeking to share tales of our lives on the Iowa prairie.

The world outside is of fallen trees and washed out ditches from last night’s extreme weather, part of a bleak day with multi-colored sky.

At a political event in town last night, about a fourth of the attendees cancelled due to the weather.

Trees were down all around the lake. Mill Creek rose up out of its banks.

“Our giant old walnut tree came down in the storm taking my farm’s main power line with it as well as my yard light pole,” came the report from our CSA. “The amazing thing is we still have power but until REC gets out here to shut off the power we have live wires on our driveway and the tree is blocking our road. Given the size of the tree I suspect it will take us several days to get the driveway cleared.”

Two trays of seedlings for the garden blew over, leaving work to salvage them this morning—the least of problems in a storm-wrecked world.

One dreams of zakuski, and lives in the material world with its fallen trees, blocked roads and disruptions, seldom stopping for the human possibilities dreams create.

It’s time to spread the pesto on plain toast and get on with the day.

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