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Since Monday, I’ve either been outside the US or on my way out. Since then, I’ve eaten three different soups, all orange-colored and delicious:

Pumpkin Soup?: This first one was described to someone next to me in the cafeteria-type place where I ate it as being a “pumpkin soup.” Then he took some white substance that was thicker and stiffer than sour cream and spooned it from a small plastic tub into his soup. He had an accent when he named the soup so, assuming he knew more than I did, I scooped some of the cream-stuff into my thin orange soup, too. I still don’t know what it was, but it came apart in clumpsat the bottom of the bowl. I didn’t eat the stuff, but I didn’t exactly eat around it either. The soup was good, I thought, but in hindsight it was the least remarkable of the three I’ve had.

Ginger Carrot Soup: This was the soup of the day at the bistro I ate at last night. It smelled terrific and tasted better. Tiny, delicate cubes of carrot sat hidden at the bottom of this thin, opaque and yellow-orange soup. It was so good, I skipped dessert.

Carrot Cumin Soup: So apparently the second-most popular soups here, after orange-colored soups, are orange-colored soups with carrot in them. Fine, then. If this is what carrot soups are like, they’re popular with me, too. I’m eating this soup right now, typing in a foreign cafe on a WiFi connection with my arms bent around a deep crock of oily, opaque soup in a nest of soft slices of bread. Outside, the hail is coming down so hard that it crunched between my teeth and rolled in through the door when I came inside and the sun is hidden behind wet fast-moving clouds so thick that the air between the buildings has become as gray as the buildings themselves. Inside it is warm and my computer is on and I have hot soup and chai, my iPod on and my fingers typing. So things are good.

Were my wife here, things would be perfect.

Noise: Seamus Heaney, Beowulf