Once upon a childless time, the ache in my back and shoulders was reserved for weekend chores, for accomplishment. It was earned by moving 10 cubic yards of compost and manure, shovelful by endless shovelful. This ache is now ever-present, and I gaze out my windows longing to muster the vim to tame my patch of weeds and squirrel-scratched holes back into some semblance of a garden. In lieu of labor, I fill my morning with lamentation. I give myself a pep talk over a handful of ibuprofen and settle for making breakfast; something is better than nothing.
This is a stack of buttermilk biscuits, baked this instant. It is hot Cajun sausages, sliced and browned with onions and poblano peppers, thickened with a golden roux of flour and the fat of the andouille, stretched with homemade chicken stock. It is eggs poached gently in that gravy, ladling warm velvet over the top, over and over, like bathing a baby with a teacup.
Eggs poached in gravy.
This breakfast is the reason we have ribs. It’s for those hale souls who have earned their sore muscles, who have worked up their appetites moving earth and felling timber and tending crops. Breakfast like this, though, is also an accomplishment of its own, and there’s been earning in the doing. I settle back into my window-gazing with a sense of having done something good enough.