I've been working on revising an essay over the last few days that's all about my food, and my family, and why I started hunting. Of course, all three of these things are so interconnected that untangling them--or showing the way they're woven together--in a way that makes sense has proven challenging. But the more I think about it, the more I think we probably aren't all that unique. Granted, what we eat is probably a little wilder than what's on most people's plates. It's also true that my dad is a culinary genius (as he often reminds us) and he doesn't apologize for it, so mealtimes are rather grand more often than not. And yes, family dinner does tend to anchor my people, bind us together, with more weight than perhaps most families. But still, even given all this, I think we're rather ordinary.
Here's what I think is at the heart of it all--kitchen tables. The unsung heroes of our family lives. They have a gravitational pull all their own, drawing us in, down, together. What kind of magic is there like kitchen table magic? What kind of dreams are there like kitchen table dreams?
If you ask me, we build our lives from the kitchen table up. It's the bedrock of my life, at least, the place I did homework and sat with my family from birth to now, drinking wine into the night. It's where all the best late night talks with friends and ex-lovers come about, and it's where I sit down now to work out whatever problems come up in my writing. To the kitchen table I go, to do my dreaming. To do my thinking.
Maybe this isn't true for you, and you've never loved a kitchen table like I've loved all the ones I've ever known. But if you have, sit an extra minute the next time you find yourself there--whether with food, or snack, or beer, or your journal--and give thanks to the gods of where we gather. Praise be for kitchen tables, and the way they give us a place to ground ourselves while we're doing the busy work of growing.