I frequently look in on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, but rarely do I find every item from his column interesting, as I did today. Today is a reprint of what was in the column in 2017. Of course, it being the birthday of G.K. Chesterton, I wanted to read what Keillor might say about that favorite writer of mine. But Bob Hope and Oswald Spengler were also born on the 29th of May. Spengler studied the history of civilizations, and published the book The Decline of the West in 1918.
A quote from Christopher Hitchens is included in this piece, which I found quite a contrast to the legacies of the other three men; it made me feel sorry for him.
Keillor leads off with the poem, “A Dream of the Future,” by Joyce Sutphen, which I think ties in nicely with the subject of Spengler’s thesis about the “blossoming and withering” of cultures over time.
When I think of the patience I have had back in the dark before I remember or knew it was night until the light came all at once at the speed it was born to with all the time in the world to fly through not concerned about every arriving and then the gathering of the first stars unhurried in their flowering spaces and far into the story the planets cooling slowly and the ages of rain then the seas starting to bear memory the gaze of the first cell at its waking how did this haste begin this little time at any time this reading by lightning scarcely a word this nothing this heaven
One night this week I had friends to dinner, and it was a lot of fun to plan the menu, which in this case included a soup course. I always intend to make cream of asparagus soup at least once in springtime, but don’t usually get to it, even though I harvest several pounds of that vegetable from my front yard plot for a few weeks running. Having someone to share it with gave me the added push.
So I used my own asparagus, and an equal amount of leeks from the store — just over a pound each, chopped. I sautéed them together in butter with fresh tarragon leaves, also from my garden. Just before everything started to brown, I removed the flower tips of the asparagus to a little bowl, and stirred in a couple of tablespoons of flour. I added a quart of chicken stock and cooked all of that together for 10-15 minutes, then used an immersion blender to make it smooth. Added salt and pepper to taste. After I’d ladled it into bowls I dropped a few of the reserved asparagus tips on top of each serving. We were all deep in conversation at that point so the thought of taking a picture of the lovely green soup never came into my head. (I also forgot that I’d planned to drizzle on a little cream.) But earlier I had noticed the beauty of the panful of chopped vegetables and leaves…
You will have to imagine the look of the creamy green soup.
We stopped talking and slurped it up joyfully.