Wednesday, May 6, 2015

We're born alone...

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”    Orson Welles

Of late I have had a pervasive feeling of loneliness. At times I have felt abandoned or betrayed by new friends. I call this loneliness and not aloneness. Welles speaks of aloneness of which I am also very familiar.

I have travelled alone and know the feeling of wanting another human being for simple conversation. I know the carefulness I practice in foreign countries after dark. Now I know aloneness in a new context. I am alone in a small town, a small town where everyone knows everyone, and I know no one.

It’s true what they say about small towns. I will never belong. I will always be that woman who moved here from Calgary and lives on Bothwell Drive, in the Elkink house. I will forever be referred to as the woman who lives in the Elkink house.

Everything is referred to by a previous local owner’s name or business name. For example, you know the market in the museum building, meet me there. Or it’s in the location of the old Peavey Mart. Or that restaurant is in the old Casey’s location. Meanwhile, I have no term of reference for any of these names or places. It isn't as though I can look it up somewhere.

I am not quite sure how I would have navigated this without my dear friend, Miss Sugar. She consoles me with her kisses, reasons with me with her meows and sedates me with her purrs. In this moment of illusion I am not alone.

Lamb Loin Chops with Farro Salad Dinner for One

I have been intrigued with farro since I had it in a salad back in the spring while I was in Kelowna. The grains have a slightly nutty flavour and when cooked al dente add nice texture to the meal. However, it isn't easy to find farro. When I was in the city I visited the health food store and found a few packages in the sale bin. I wish I had purchased more than one.

Farro is an ancient grain that is popular in the Mediterranean. Finding exact details is about as difficult as finding the grain itself. Most information tells me it is an ancient wheat. One source says that spelt, emmer and einkorn are called farro in Italy. The difference mainly is the size of the kernel. These three grains are considered farro. So don't be surprised if the farro you buy today is a little different from the farro you buy tomorrow.

I cook this like I cook all my grains and rice, in plenty of water. I cook until almost al dente, strain it and place a clean tea towel over so it can steam for awhile. I like a clean grain so if it is still a bit sticky, rinse under cold water, strain and let air dry.

The lamb loin chops are simply seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and seared in a pan with olive oil on both sides. Remove from pan and tent with foil for 10 minutes. Serve.

Farro Salad
1 cup farro
1/2 tomato, cubed
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar

Cook farro as described above. When it is dry add the remainder of the ingredients and toss to coat. Serve.


  1. I can relate to "a small town where everyone knows everyone, and I know no one." We've been on our acreage just outside Cabri since 2007 and I still have no close friends. Come to think of it, I have just one friend from childhood and she lives in Toronto. Part of it is me, being an introvert and quite content to tend livestock and garden as I immerse myself in Nature, but also I don’t expect to fit in. We have moved so many times I think of Cabri as simply where the Universe positioned us when we had to leave our rented farm near Calgary. We’ve done our best to do “what we can, with what we have, where we are” but it does get discouraging sometimes without familial support during a crisis - and particularly now as we age with several health challenges. And yes, our little oasis is known as the Rya place, the Mickelson place, or the Levorson place, depending on the age of the person who is asking. It likely never will be the Dowsons’ place, and we’re okay with that. As for loneliness, I find that sometimes it can be an important time for reflection. So many people are afraid of loneliness, when it can allow us to take our bearings and chart a new course or cycle. When a feeling becomes pervasive, it’s usually because there is some emotional loose end we need to work on. For me, the answers come more easily when I’m out in the garden, communing with a tree or bird or plant or bug. I’m glad you have Miss Sugar to keep you company while you work through this period of alone-ness. But if you start feeling depressed, text me!

    1. I forgot you are also not 'from here'. You can definitely relate. The reason I began this blog was to work through whatever it is I am meant to work through. My happiest times are either in the garden or in the kitchen. And thanks for the offer! I appreciate that. Texting is another story that may show up here sometime!

  2. I can relate Sarah. It is much easier to make life long friends when you are younger. I lived in the small town of Ayr when I was in my early 20's but had a good friend that was a local that introduced me to everyone so it was easy. I have lived in the same building here in town now for 6 years and never see a soul. Thank goodness for my foodie friends.

    1. I never thought of that happening in your town but I suppose it is a reality of small town life anywhere. I am beginning now to miss my Calgary friends and perhaps it is time to finally keep in touch with them.

  3. I live in a small town too..and you know I was a realtore here for almost 30 yrs..

    At the was hard for me to hear..:"I just listed the Smith house"
    I was with agents that were long in the tooth..and for the first 10 yrs of my married life I did not work..
    and only met the girls ..friends..parents..
    So who the heck were the Smiths and which house was it.
    After almost 30 yrs..I did know who the Smiths were and who the Bells weree..
    But I always stayed private.
    My true friends are my family.