Aqua Vitae

I eat every day. I don’t write every day.

The easiest thing in the world is to forget to write, or to “forget” to write, as I do. Since college, I also am one of those people who forget to eat when they’re busy.

What I’m saying is that I’m good at ignoring my body.

So this week I missed five days of writing about what I’m tasting and delighting in, and also, I missed five days of running, and five days of eating before 3pm. I had five days of crawling out of bed and heading straight to the screens. I did five days of coffee blended with grassfed butter at my local coffeeshop on the way to the subway, and five days of winding up at my local pub or movie theater, trying to push my way through the work that needs doing.

Five days of burnt popcorn or decent beer. Five days of good stories from screens of friends. Five days of conversations and articles and thoughts and more conversations. Five days of excitement and even, yes, joy.

But also five days of no conscious consumption, no awareness dwelling in a body. Of putting on the same clothes. Of being unsure where I am in time, space, the universe, whatever.

So now, Saturday night, I am trying to deposit my consciousness back down into my real self, my body. I am finishing preparations to talk to some artists I admire, and I am drinking a pint of plain porter, and here is what you need to know about plain porter: “plain” is a slight against it.

Plain porter tastes almost exactly like silk feels. It has no bite. It is not dark, but it has a soft, pillowy head on it. It is not sweet, but it’s nothing else either. Yet it’s not tasteless. It’s like if you took the taste of water and intensified it, but still took what is wonderful about water when you are at your thirstiest point, when you’ve hiked a mile in the desert heat and water is the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted, and then turns the nob to 11.

So at the end of a marathon week, when I walk into the pub with one more big stack of good work to do, I won’t lie: having the only female bartender at this place greet me with a huge grin and pour a porter feels like I’ve been offered aqua vitae, dark and smooth. And it settles me and nestles me back into my contours. Here I am, life, earth. Hello again.