Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Montebello and the food of Dinosaurs.

We had a leisurely lunch at Montebello yesterday. Wraps filled with cinnamony butternut and goats cheese. Pomegranate and aloe juice. The city feeling evaporated and I forgot about traffic and first-of-the-month bills and contrary people. We spoke about traveling and music and pangs of the heart. 
At Montebello there is no direct light, everything is dappled. It's like being in a forest.

J. is an old friend. A wise man. A music producer. After lunch we sat in his studio and listened to some songs. A welcoming blue couch, equipment with hundreds of dials and tiny glimmering lights.
J. shared two projects very close to his heart. Larry Rhode is a musician currently in the Douglas Prison. In the calm of his own storm. Things I'll never forget: when Larry walks every day in the dusty prison yard, he can see the tops of two trees in the distance. From his cell window at night he can see seven stars. When he got to prison, he knew the music notes in his head, but not their names. "I want to know all the notes on the guitar's neck."

Louisa Steenkamp is very, very old and blind. She lives in Calvinia, near Van Rhynsdorp in the Karoo. Her songs are laments about her life. Accompanied by a borrowed guitar and her grandson on the tin violin. "My ma se woorde soos naalde deur my hart." (My mother's words like needles through my heart.)
T. and I wandered through the nursery, not saying much.

My first encounter with a Gunnera. River Pumpkin. Leaves bigger than a golf umbrella. A herb that's been around for the last 95 million years. Salad for dinosaurs. Unfurling new leaves like spiky hands.

According to ancient lore, J. told us, babies are born knowing everything there is to know. An angel passes by and touches each one lightly on the frenulum (that tender slute joining the top of your lip to your nose). In that instant, we forget everything. We spend the rest of our life remembering.


Anonymous said...

A lovely posting,Lily - bringing a different glimpse of Montebello. You write beautifully. N

Lily Turner said...

Thank you N.
It was a dreamy afternoon.

Marie said...

Beautiful writing.

I would like to hear that music.

Lily Turner said...

Thank you Marie.
I'll keep you in the loop re. release of the music.

arcadia said...

Dit lyk na 'n lieflike restaurant. Ek is jaloers.

Marie said...

arcadia, julle moet daar eet wanneer julle kom - I love the curry.

Lily - ja, asseblief - die naalde deur my hart loop nogsteeds met my.