When I was single, I lived in a lovely rental cottage with lots of closet space. I had a closet just for my shoes, but that’s a lifetime ago and another story. Among the ridiculous amount of free space I had was a beautiful felt-lined drawer in a mid century credenza I bought when you could still by that period relatively cheaply. The drawer was intended for cutlery, but I didn’t have good silver so it remained empty for a long time. My best friend Jeri lives in NYC and has the most wonderful artist’s eye of anyone I know. Her tiny apartment is a marvel of curatorial efficiency. One day I will post some photos of it. In conversation one day I mentioned I didn’t have any string in the house when I needed it and this horrified her. Jeri always has the right tool for the job and being without something as fundamental as string was unthinkable. Over the next few weeks I received four beautiful little packages in the mail, each with a little bundle of a different type of string. They were so lovely that I never could bring myself to use them and placed them just so in my lined credenza drawer, along with some hand carved olive wood spoons and forks from Israel another friend with a good eye had given me. It was a secret pleasure, knowing what was in the drawer, shut away.
In due course I moved out of the cottage and got married. The credenza now lives in the new house, which has insufficient closet space and the luxury of a string drawer is a thing of the past. I thought of it yesterday when I was making a stew for dinner and the recipe called for string-tied herbs and I still had no string in the house. So I reluctantly dug up one of those bundles and used it for my herbs.
I felt a little wistful for the days I could make precious vignettes like that, but also so grateful to have the fullness of this life where the big picture of making dinner sweeps away the dreamy nostalgia of adorable bundles of string.