I've been a linguist since the time I learned to talk. Over the years I added foreign languages: one, two, even three at a time until there were 5, or almost 6; the words all dancing around in my head. There are so many in there, with deep intonations, bright tones, and guttural vibrations. Often a word will get stuck in a synapse, playing itself over and over like a skipping record.
Sometimes the word that gets stuck is there for its sound, other times for it's meaning. These days, the word is ephemeral. "Lasting for a very short time."
Like pain, pleasure, life itself.
If relationships, things, tasks, achievements, everything is ephemeral, that's a reason to care.
If taste is ephemeral, then that's a reason to savor.
Then there's another word nestled in that gap between cells, begging to be spoken: ethereal. "Extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world."
Chocolate mousse, tiramisu, my meringue cookies.
I had 4 almost-forgotten egg whites in my refrigerator -- leftover from a double batch of this chocolate pudding (to which I added a shot of espresso, which took it to a new level of decadent).
We had a difficult morning that involved a series of life's petty annoyances, adding up to a bad mood and a lump in my throat. While Roman napped, I sought out the familiar refuge of the whir of my electric mixer. I knew that my knotted-up feelings were ephemeral. They would pass, as all things do.
So I gently whipped my egg whites to soft peaks, then slowly poured 1/2 cup of caster sugar (superfine cane) in a stream along with two capfuls of vanilla extract. I sifted 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 of dark cacao. I carefully chopped some walnuts and folded them into the gooey batter with the last of the very dark chocolate chips from the refrigerator. I baked them at 300 for about 20 minutes. The result was 24 soft, chewy meringues: not at all chalky; pleasant on the teeth.
As soon as I pulled the tray from the oven, I ate four.
My meringue cookies were both ethereal (but the walnuts grounded them) and ephemeral (they were all gone in 24 hours).
The cookie recipe is here (although I made a few changes, as I described above).
They are called brutti ma buoni, "ugly, but good," light, delicate, short lasting, and a good remedy to life's petty annoyances, which are indeed ephemeral...