Two Sisters, One Bowl

by Ruth & Sarah

IMG_1076Ruth’s musings-

Year-end is about gratitude. Because we’re human, it also becomes about sadness, loss, expectation, fear, joy, shame, confusion and love. The bowl is a metaphor for each of us as we become vessels that hold these emotions. So, we make a fragrant chicken stew, a big salad and a couple of loaves of rosemary bread and invite friends and employees to dinner. We are celebrating year-end, recognizing each person’s contribution to the small business that struggles at times to make ends meet on this island, this island divided in half by an invisible line and a mindset.

IMG_1082We all want to connect; we need that connection. Tonight, there was a satisfying connection between and among all of us here. And, yet, at times, it does not flow with the ease we would wish to have. So, we sit in these dark days, and reflect on our lives, our community, our work, and remind ourselves to connect, first and most importantly, to our selves.The bowl we received for our week came in a lovely basket packed securely with brown crinkle cut paper. It was heavy, had a low profile, and had earthy colors.

It took us a while to figure out what needed to go into that bowl. For most of the week with us it was an empty vessel. It was that emptiness that developed into its most profound value. If it was full we couldn’t put anything into it. It was empty in space and in color. The browns of the bowl blended into the background. It was the ultimate receiver, receiving the light brown colors of this dish, receiving the many empty spoons delving in to scoop out more of the luscious but plain colored chicken, receiving the glances that went by it to other, more brightly colored objects, and receiving the soapy water when the meal was over. The bowl started empty and ended empty, having temporarily held the nourishment for the people gathered there for the evening of conversation and feasting.

The guests weren’t told about the bowl, we just presented it with the food without explanation. The conversation was unusually lively that night. They remarked on the deliciousness of the dish served in the bowl, they went for seconds. They did this quickly, as they were animatedly engaged with each other in conversation. A welcome conversation amongst people who work hard together during work hours, and scatter to the various corners of Whidbey Island during their off times. The emptiness of the bowl seemed to give the space for the spirit of the group to emerge, to hold the lively conversations, to give room to hold the nourishment needed by both the bodies and the spirits of the people.

Sarah’s Recipe



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