Here in the tangle of 2020 Darwin’s tamer pets track truth, neolithically beget, devour whatever whenever, cop the whole caboodle—just staying animali alive.
Thought, word, sentence, paragraph. This virus—an incomplete story—with its truths ravaging among us, unites us like the hermaphrodite of language, this prose poem.
Its reality beats back fantasies of the witching hours when we summon the harvest moon, recall the summer solstice, and find our place in between—here at the forest edge. And here at the forest edge the Merganser clan is now a trinity with no Mama in sight. That is the way.
And us? We tromp through thickets, shelter with fern fronds, sweat in the heat while coveting the shore and its cool breeze. Dancing in the streets twists 'round as memory of summer riots stun and bewilder. Silence here at our Moon, head down, hood up, we savor hush when partisan winds roar in the zodiac. There’s talk of a vaccine as the politics of 2020 bleed into 21.
This first-quarter moon pushes us into a stinging insult with no admittance of bravery, power, or perseverance—just self-preservation. We long for the brush of a pixie wing against brow.
Stymied from creativity our fervor twitches, numbs, and so at cocktail hour we elude a deep look. We forage for edibles, formulate the rise of Capricorns, Leos, and the Virgos of 21, all lending legacy and history to COVID-19.
We track truth and when the sun and moon conflict we realize truth is a parenthesis around our soul, or truth itself is in parenthesis as perhaps the seeking of it creates the hemming-in of it, as if it were an afterthought, a Platonic aside, as in there is no certainty.
But when the parenthesis closes, a fairy ring forms, uniting us—organic, orgiastic, whole—whirling close to an Einstein-ian mass into a vortex deep under the magic pond, into molten earth, only to float—up—as steaming mist in the dawn. We are O-K. Our internal fires beget water as art, and we cling to earth and air and all desires—as of course, that is our way.
MUSIC TO COOK BY
Risotto with Wild Mushrooms
Serves 4- 6
1 pound wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced*
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 medium shallots, chopped
4 ounces butter, unsalted
6 ounces Arborio rice 1.5 qt. mushroom stock, warm (or sub with chicken stock) 1 garlic clove, small 2 tbs. white wine 1 tsp. white truffle oil or use fresh sliced truffles .5 tsp. fresh thyme
Sauté the mushrooms in the vegetable oil about 5 minutes, or until tender. Squeeze the lemon juice over them, season to taste and set aside.
Place shallots and 2 oz. of butter in medium size pot. Sweat until tender over low heat, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook for another 2 minutes until it is completely coated. Slowly add mushroom stock a small amount at a time. It should bubble at first, then form a creamy liquid. Raise the heat to medium. Keep adding the stock until half of it is gone, Add garlic clove and white wine. Add salt to taste. When you are left with about a cup of stock add the cooked mushrooms to rice and continue to stir. Add the remainder of stock. Stir.
(At this point you may shock the rice by placing it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for reheating later. When ready to serve, bring the cooled rice to room temperature. Place it in a pot and warm. Proceed to next step.)
Finish the rice with the remaining butter and drizzle of truffle oil. Sprinkle in fresh thyme and add mushrooms previously cooked. Adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.
*NOTE 1 : though we pick wild mushrooms in Vermont for our risottos we advise against you doing the same unless you are experienced. If farmed wild mushrooms are not to be had, you may substitute with button mushrooms.
**NOTE 2 : The rice should be slightly chewy when you’re done and the all of the liquid (cream) should not be absorbed into the rice, but should serve as a sauce. You may use less or more stock when cooking depending on your heat levels and personal taste.
1.5 qt. water
2 lbs. mushroom stems
1 sprig thyme
1 medium size onion, quartered
Combine all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a slow boil. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain. For additional flavor add one or all of the following:
1 tbs. of porcini powder (available in gourmet food stores) or liquid from steeping dried morels: cover about 1 oz. of morels with 8 oz of hot water.
Let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. You may also add the re-hydrated morels to the fresh mushroom mixture for added depth or save for another use.