parse the cosmos and create maps of reality

It’s a quotation by David Naugle; I came across it in the course of editing a book and I have no idea what it means, and it’s not within my scope of work to find out, but I like the phrase, it has a poetic quality.

Here in South Africa, cosmos is a wild flower (pictured above) that carpets our world at this time of the year and heralds the changing season; the cosmos tells us that Winter is drawing her coats from her cedar chests and hanging them out to air.

I always become introspective during this season; a little quieter; a little slower. Naturally, this manifests in my kitchen and my cooking, too, returns to a slower philosophy. Soups and casseroles take the place of salads and stacks and bowl food provides comfort and warmth in the crisp evenings as old Mister Sun chooses to retire at an increasingly early hour.

A parcel of leftover frozen oxtail stew from my freezer has yielded a perfect soup for my lunch later today, as I discover that it’s this day, in 1857, that Fannie Farmer was born. Apropos of nothing, really, I remember her quote: Progress in civilization has been accompanied by progress in cookery.

And that’s quite enough drivel for one day, I must get back to work.



  1. Copied and pasted from wikipedia – a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system and is the antithetical concept of chaos.

  2. our lovely easter pink carpet!

    they came here (apparently) in horse fodder imported from south america (I think in the anglo-boer war) Now like so many immigrants they are a vital part of life here

  3. I often wondered why the humble cosmos would carry such a gigantic name.

    Parse the cosmos surely refers to outer space…restructuring it. Sounds like something my guides would say! “We’re out here parsing the cosmos for a little reality mapping.”

  4. My favourite flower! The Hub commissioned a painting of Cosmos by a South African artist for me, one long ago Christmas. I still have it. I love it.

    We used to drive from Sasolburg to Joburg every week to visit family, and the highway verges would be covered in it.

    Tory Boy was born in April and it was the beginning of winter. We bought a paraffin heater specially for him.

    You’ve made me all weepy and nostalgic (in a good way) :).

  5. Winter is drawing her coats from her cedar chests and hanging them out to air. love this line, pure poetry, my friend. I always forget that your seasons are opposite of mine…

  6. Winter is approaching your side of the world? The oxtail soup looks truly delicious! I’ve never made soup from oxtail, but yours has inspired me. I must.

    Where I am winter has been a bear and all are crying out for spring’s sweet breath of fresh air. May your winter be kind and gentle, and provide whatever benefit winter brings. I wouldn’t want to bless you out of the benefits of a healthy winter. Stay warm, Cindy.

  7. You know how much I adore Cosmos from a previous post. They will always be my favourite and I love your picture, Cin!

    How about:
    Pesto Princess – flavourful goodness
    Pesto Princess – the taste experience
    Pesto Princess – experience tastefulness

    I’m no good at this 😦

  8. One of my favourite wild flowers. We once stopped on the way back from visiting my brother and nicked a whole pocketful of seeds. Did I have fun eventually trying to get them out of the garden once they were finished? They grew taller than what I am, and they’ve got the most persistant soil-hugging roots I’ve come across. 🙂

  9. Such a pretty and delicate-looking flower… I love the “poetic quality” of your words: the cosmos tells us that Winter is drawing her coats from her cedar chests and hanging them out to air.

  10. I love the two type font ‘hope’ sign. Found on your travels? Cosmos: the ‘love flower’, peacefulness,wholeness and modesty. Have a great day!Yvette x

  11. Googled Naugle and he seems to be a religious type of professor fellow, great saying whatever! Substitute beef for the oxtail and we’re in business – too fatty for me otherwise 🙂

  12. Pingback: Ingredient Challenge and Taste of Cape Town Ticket Give Away « Lavender and Lime

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