The Missing Season

A lovely sensual dinner was had by all at the new-ish branch of Hanoi 3 Seasons on Queen Street East, last weekend.

I’ve always been intrigued by the name. As Writer Butch asked later, What. Is. The. Missing. Season?

Earlier in the day The Hair Dude, The Bohemian and myself had floated over to Ward’s Island for The Librarian’s graduation. As the sound of drumming and the aroma of sweetgrass drifted across the lawn, we could see this would be no ordinary commencement ceremony. Librarian has been studying expressive arts therapy, and as of last Sunday, is an accredited art therapist!

I once forced a gaggle of friends attend my PhD defence, so it was interesting to be on the other side of such a ritual. We sat close together, a little pod of support, worried we’d be asked to dance or confess.

There was an oasis of candles in the centre of the room.Hair Dude (Librarian’s partner) was as nervous, proud, and loving as I’ve ever seen her. The Bohemian exuded a dry, tasty wit. I was over-excited, restless, emotional, a little bit uncomfortable in my fancy shoes.

I cried several times during the ceremony. I glanced over at Hair Dude in embarrassment and caught her wiping away a tear.

We drifted back to Toronto on the ferry, tired and happy.

The day ended at Hanoi 3 Seasons, in a softly lit, beautifully appointed room, Buddha presiding over us. The owner, Hai Luke Tran, came and sat with us as he took our order. He solemnly congratulated The Librarian on her graduation.

The fusion-y North Vietnamese food was unusual, and kept our tastebuds on edge. We shared an appetizer (Hen): spicy baby clams with crisp black-sesame crackers. I found the clams a bit dry, but comfortingly tasty. My main dish was spicy prawns and rice with its delicious, strangely compelling mix of chili, lemongrass and dill.

Maybe the missing season is spring. It’s shorter than the others. Its breezes are unexpected, warm and chilly at the same time. They stroke newly bared skin, arouse suppressed passions.

The missing season is there, we just don’t get to experience it enough: it is growth and transition; celebration of a birth; compassion; community. It’s the fleeting pleasure of satisfaction: a meal or a day or a season in which desires are fulfilled, and the best moment is now.

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