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Dappled Things

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All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Today's new thing is a simple thing. It had to be - I can't be gallivanting to hootenannies and strip spelling bees until all hours of the night every night and still be fit to talk about it here. Today, at the Jean-Talon Market, I bought something I've wondered about there ever since I noticed it months ago. I bought a little parcel of quail eggs.

"Qu'est-ce qu'on fait avec ca?" I try to talk to the vendors in French.
"Do you speak French or English?"
"English I guess."
"You can do anything you want with them. If you want to hard boil them, you start them in cold water with a drop of vinegar and boil them for two minutes and fifteen seconds."

I loved the fifteen seconds part. I loved that something in the world still depended on fifteen seconds, and I thought this would be the thing I'd love most about the quail eggs, as the vendor continued to tell me more specifics. "If you want to fry them, don't whack them on the side of the pan. Cut them  open with a steak knife." But the thing I loved most happened when I got them home and opened their little box.

I knew they were small. You can see exactly how small they are through the box. They are about an inch high. What you can't see through the box, even though it is transparent, is the brindled, freckled, marbled, original, paint-splattery, variety and beauty of the eggs. It startled me. I was stopped in my blogging, walking, writing, tea-drinking tracks, and compelled to just sit in the present moment and stare at the beauty of the eggs.

I left the kitchen and when I came back, my daughter was sitting looking at them the way I had been, utterly silent. She was sitting in front of them as if she intended to stay there like that for some time. She did stay there like that for some time, and I stood beside her looking down at the eggs. Some shells are glossy, others are clouded. Some are rich and brown, others are cool and blue. They are beautiful enough to make me weep.

Here they are. 

By the way, here's a new link to that song I tried to sing you a few days ago. I finally realized it needed to be an mp3 file.
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On January 11th, 2011 03:40 am (UTC), alicezorn commented:
Dappled things are fine.
Didn't know you had such a smoky singing voice.
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On January 11th, 2011 03:43 am (UTC), alicezorn commented:
Robert says Bravo!
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On January 11th, 2011 03:55 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
The other thing you can do is use a needle to pierce both ends and then blow the eggs - this will give you the makings of a fine little omelet and hollowed-out eggs to preserve. They are beautiful, aren't they?
Enjoying your posts.
[User Picture]
On January 11th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC), pixcee replied:
This is exactly what I was going to say!! They are too beautiful to NOT keep! I wonder how they taste...hmm..
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On January 12th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC), amandaleduc.wordpress.com commented:
They are indeed beautiful -- I'm speechless just looking at the picture. I can only imagine how very great such small things must have seemed.
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