When I peel the russet potatoes, the carrots, the sweet potatoes (and
sometimes turnips), it’s an occasion. When I cut the zucchini, asparagus,
red peppers, it’s an experience. When I bring out my largest bowl and use
my hands to toss them all with olive oil, white wine vinegar, oregano, the
trapdoor falls open, and I drop into a softness where tongue and nose are
despots. The perfect music for this dark world happens only later: the
dishwasher humming in the neat empty kitchen.

I had a roasted veggie dream last night, a frustration dream. No matter
how I tried, I couldn’t cut the veggies into the right shapes, and so no
veggies were roasted. “The reason for your complaint lies, it seems to me,
in the constraint your intellect imposes on your imagination” was what
Schiller told someone who was having trouble writing. But no, it can
happen from tiredness, or impoverished creative powers, or maybe
something like what Emily Dickinson meant: “the mere sense of living is
joy enough.”