This was found on a track that runs along by the river Wear. At the bridge at the bottom of Page Bank, the path is metalled with what seems to be rubble from old houses. There are tiles and bits of pottery, brick and plaster, the occasional door handle or tap washer. I always keep my eyes down in case, in a final bid for immortality, the past has sent something forwards in time to be found.
It was no surprise to find a battered teaspoon, then, but this one made me smile. As a gift from a demolished home, this was well chosen for me.
I like teaspoons: chatty little upstarts in the cutlery drawer. They have heard all the gossip in the world from their hiding places in sugar bowls, on saucers, on the kitchen sideboard, and they like to stir things up. Just as a junkie’s paraphernalia (often including a teaspoon) becomes comfortingly associated with the addiction, so teaspoons speak to me of the good pleasure in my life that is coffee. A good teaspoon has a little weight but not too much. It should nestle comfortably between thumb and forefinger and clink lightly against the cup when stirring. Holding it, one should feel inspired to gesticulate for emphasis and, possibly, to flirt.
She makes the sign of a teaspoon
He makes the sign of a wave
The poor boy changes clothes
And puts on after-shave
To compensate for his ordinary shoes
In specific, look at this little one. Stamped out from cheap, thin metal, like a paper doll, I’d say it was born in the leaner war years, giving its understated, sinuous decoration a note of defiance: “I will be pretty. I will be more than ‘just a spoon’.”
Does it have anything wise to say? I think so.
I’m reminded of the times I’ve chosen to eat desert with a teaspoon instead of with a fork or table spoon, taking smaller mouthfuls, savouring each of them, drawing the experience out.
I picked up this spoon at a moment when I felt overwhelmed by life. I realised I needed to go back to ‘eating’ with a teaspoon. Even if there’s a mountain to move, and just a teaspoon to do it with, the main thing is to make a start and to savour each small moment.
Some of Mevlana’s words came back to me. These have never failed to unlock a sense of presence and peace for me:
Take little sips of air for the rest of your life.