Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Unexpected Guest

The week just past has been quite a week! Whether you consider it from the birthday angle, the weather one, or the appearance-of-odd-animals one, it was a stand-out.

For weeks David had been planning a birthday supper for me on Saturday, two days before my actual birthday. Cookbooks loomed in heaps around his armchair. Recipes were put forward, then rejected. Finally, we settled on a menu of cold cucumber soup, Greek moussaka and green salad, with a key lime pie to top the evening. He made grocery lists; tracked down locally grown lamb; and minced and chopped for half a day. Together, we constructed the pie from scratch, one of our favorite joint kitchen ventures.

By the time our intrepid guests arrived, kicking snow from their boots and dusting flakes from their shoulders, the house was redolent with smells too heavenly to describe. Despite the weather and having to put on chains to get here, our guests were upbeat and ready for a gathering. The table was set with old French plates; crystal glasses winked in the firelight. When David brought the huge blue earthernware casserole to the table, trailing fragrant steam and displaying a perfectly browned topping, we all cheered. It was one of those nights when, thanks to the protection of the kitchen gods and David’s hard work and fine touch, every single mouthful was delicious. The wines were perfect for the meal. Even the meringue on the key lime pie refused to ignite into flames, when we left it a second too long under the broiler.

We laughed and conversed our way through all four courses, then sat by the fire chatting with demitasses of coffee and cups of tea. We were warm, well fed and companionable. Suddenly, however, I gave a shriek and ducked, as a bat streaked low over my head! It swooped and darted like a black comet above our heads, then retired to the wall of the loft from which David, always more courageous in these matters than I, ejected it through the balcony French doors, out into the snowy night.

We were all rather stunned. Never in my life have I seen a bat during a snow storm. It was sobering. I thought immediately of how Carl Jung, one of the fathers of depth psychology, found occurrences like these significant, not in the primitive sense of an omen but as a synchronicity marking a significant turn of events. Immediately, I went for my book that explains the symbolism of various animals. Bat, it turns out, symbolizes rebirth. Then I felt that we had perhaps treated our intruder less than courteously. He had, after all, brought our entire gathering a blessing of renewal and the promise of a fresh start. Uncanny and spooky as the bat was, it wasn’t a leftover from Halloween, but a harbinger of Spring.

Tomorrow, I’ll continue the tale of the past week but now, I have to get ready for our weekly outing at the Billywhiskers cafĂ©. Never a dull moment!

Have a wonderful weekend, all! 

No comments: