The Kitchen

Taken from my journal while in Tiweno, 10 Dec. 2012

Each day begins with the mundane routine of the fire; such a primitive thing and one that I continue to be in conflict with. In many regards I welcome the smoke, the gray plumes that burn both eyes and throat, choking out breath. Why? It pushes back every advancing creature that seems to loom ready to nibble on my white flesh; the gnats, noseums, bees, wasps, flies and chiggers (my continual nemesis) that always seems to get the ones I love.

I love the smoke. I hate the smoke. I have learned to make it move to my wishes, fanning my turkey feathers harder to move away the thick charcoal poison or giving it permission to advance and envelope my space and keep these small nuisances at bay. It is a gamble; to have tears from swollen eyes streaming down my cheeks or be gnawed on by annoying creatures. I have even restarted my fire to smoking just to enjoy the company of my friends without being bit, peering through the haze for times of fellowship. This is why I see the kitchen in the center of my friends’ thatched homes. It is no different in my home culture in a way. The kitchen is the center attraction of the home, with something always being prepared to meet the endless hunger pains and cravings of the people. The kitchen is a place of warm welcome to friends and strangers alike seeking refuge physically or emotionally. May my kitchen be that place, whether in this kitchen in the jungle or that of my other life including electricity.