I’m grateful for the simple comfort food of tuna fish. I don’t eat it often, but it was a lunch staple when I grew up. As with most purchased fish, it’s complicated to balance the nutritional value with ecological costs. After enjoying it for lunch on a salad, and then for dinner in a tuna melt sandwich, I chanced to read an article about the ‘desperate search for cod babies’ in the North Atlantic. Even the once-most bountiful fishes in the sea are in decline, another symptom of the systemic collapse of life on earth due to human pressures.
Enjoying the tuna, pondering the cod shortage, and contemplating adding more fish to my diet all converged today to make me look up how-to-fish videos on YouTube. I spent a little while imagining myself with a couple of poles, bait, and spinners fishing along the shore of the Crawford reservoir next summer, or some of the mountain lakes, stocking up the freezer for the year. Wren would be splashing along in the shallows or darting about on the beach. Then the kid on the video put a hook through a minnow’s nostril, and I started to doubt my capacity to handle live bait. For now, I think I’ll just stick to enjoying tuna fish. But who knows what summer will bring?
I was grateful to wake this morning to a few inches of snow, especially knowing it means a lot of snow in the mountain reservoir: an auspicious beginning to our essential snowpack. The deer were grateful for leaves lowered within browsing range by heavy snow. Morning coffee was naturally enjoyed indoors, with a little beggar hoping for a nut from my trail mix cookie. Even Topaz didn’t want to go outside.
I was grateful to see that the dough I let rise overnight formed into a perfect ball when I took it out of the bowl to proof it. I was even more grateful to see the perfect loaf that baked in the cast iron dutch oven. While the bread rose and baked, I was grateful for some loving connection with friends and family over phone and zoom, cozy in my warm home with the little animals and the fire in the woodstove, the scent of baking bread…
The zoom call with Catherine Ingram was especially comforting, finding commonality with others around the globe who are all heartsick over the conditions of power, war, violence, and cruelty rising like a brewing storm. Catherine quoted Kierkegaard in cautioning us to not be ‘tranquilized by the trivial,’ and advised that sometimes the most we can do is simply to “be a light in our own lives – and that starts with being a light in yourself.” There was so much more, and I’ll share the link to the podcast when the conversation is edited and published.
This might be the most beautiful loaf ever! And certainly it was delicious. Naturally I had bread for lunch: the warm heel with butter and some fromage fort that I whipped up with the last bits of some cheddar, havarti, smoked gouda, and mozzarella. So simple, so delicious! For dessert, not surprisingly, I enjoyed a piece of toast with apricot jam. So decadent!
Much of the snow melted during the afternoon, and evening brought a partial clearing of the skies. Then in the span of half an hour the view of Needle Rock went from this…
to this, as setting sun cast its apricot glow on another shower:
I set an intention this morning to fully inhabit the present moment as often as possible today. The alarm had jolted me awake from a dream feeling a certain type of way, and my first impulse was to try to go back into the dream–into the past–and I experienced a moment of clarity to let it go and simply be present in this moment, hearing snowmelt dripping from the tower roof onto the metal roof overhead, feeling the light of morning, the soft sheets, the warm little dog. I was able to inhabit that experience of the present moment, and appreciate it as pleasant, without thinking of the past or the future. I’m grateful for the practice of present moment awareness.
I enjoyed making these marinated lentils to use in salads for the coming week, and sautéed some kale and garlic for a bed, dressed it with Pad Thai sauce I made the other day to have on hand for quick stir fries this week, and garnished with pickled red onions leftover from the fancy sandwich I tried out last week. Here’s a picture of that since I couldn’t share it at the time because no internets.
I’m grateful that the little naturalizing tulips, Tulipa tarda, finally burst into bloom after the clouds cleared this afternoon, and that I made the time to be with and appreciate them. Topaz seemed pleased to see them as well.
And I was fully present in the moment with my snack, daffodil cake and vanilla ice cream, in the sunroom, with the jasmine, and the ancestral jade lion, the bonsai lemon verbena, and all the other growing flowering beings in that room. I’m grateful for all these sensory delights, and also for the deeper meaning they signify, of my devotion and gratitude to Mother Earth for her unstinting generosity to the greediest of species as well as to the most gentle and unassuming. I do my best to honor and protect her, and to deserve her bounty. Happy Earth Day.
Things did not go as I expected them to tonight. I heard there are massive solar winds that could be affecting digital things this weekend so maybe that’s what happened.
For the past 13 weeks I’ve planned my weekend entertainment around a new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15. I briefly resented having to pay an extra $25 for it on Amazon Prime, but I’ve done the same for a couple of other seasons so I followed the same advice as I did before: If it gives you pleasure just go ahead and pay for it, you get to watch as often you want. I rarely watch a Drag Race episode more than once recently, because there are so many new ones available between the US and international shows.
So I bit the proverbial bullet and paid for Season 15 and have been enjoying settling in at the end of a work week on Saturday nights to relax and watch just one hour of consummate drag, practicing open mind-open heart all the while, expanding my horizons…
I tuned in tonight and it wasn’t there. I called Amazon support. They said it was ‘not yet available,’ with no date scheduled. I was incredulous. How could they not give me something I paid for? I thanked Lula for her time and good work, hung up, and pursued another option. Jumping through a few hoops I was able to watch the episode for free on MTV, with ads. So I extended my practice to watching what a large chunk of the populace digests every day but is alien to me by choice–the commercials made me so sad. What a world!
Before all the Amazon-MTV first world drama, I had tried to simply stream the PBS special celebrating Joni Mitchell’s finally getting the Gershwin Prize in a special concert filmed at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The space was filled with music world glitterati, DC nobility, and a few startling political faces–what right do these people have to honor Joni Mitchell?! They deny basic human dignity to millions of Americans by promulgating cruel, narrow-minded, hypocritical legislation, and then think they deserve to be here? Who let them in?
My judgments ran rampant but under control for the first hour or so, generally eclipsed by the joy and beautiful music abundantly on display. No ads to make me sad, and Annie Lennox, Brandi Carlisle, Angelique Kidjo, James Taylor, Graham Nash and more to lift my spirits and celebrate an icon, a time, a world view suffused with love. But I gasped and grasped the remote to turn it off when that traitorous liar Kevin McCarthy was introduced to bestow the award on Mitchell. I wouldn’t watch it, couldn’t watch it, it was just too much to dignify that figurehead who represents the antithesis of all that Joni’s career has stood for. How could anyone there have applauded him?
Thus began the Amazon-MTV-Roku-iPhone-Bluetooth technodrama that unfolded over the next half hour before I finally got to stream three-quarters of the Drag Race episode. Some pearls of wisdom adorned the usual glam, glitter, and gossip, as when Sasha Colby said, “Just be a joy to be around, leave your ego at the door…” Suddenly the streaming froze–the solar winds won–after five techno challenges in a row I threw in the towel and turned off the outside world and went inside myself.
Here, I find Wayne Shorter crooning his saxophone, and images from the amazing early spring day I just lived through. Some I caught on my camera phone, and some live only in memory: a spotted towhee pecking through leaves under the lilacs, sandhill cranes calling overhead as I split kindling on a cloudless afternoon, mindful conversation with friends…
I’m grateful I spotted this harbinger of Spring, the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell. I texted the picture to a butterfly expert friend in Toronto who ID’d it and said, “They overwinter as adults in cracks and crevices and pop out when its warm enough. A favourite of mine. Don’t get to see one very often.” Me neither! This is my first. Very exciting! Highlight of the day! A little tattered… they only live 6-10 days in this adult form, and typically inhabit wet woodlands, moist marshes and pastures. One point for wet weather. And then, day softened into evening inside the kaleidoscope… I’m grateful for perspective.
I’m grateful today for sunshine, the proximity of cat and dog, flowers in winter, potted herbs, bonsai, and the resilience to just hang on sometimes. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give away bread to some friends who needed its comfort and cheer more than I did today. I’m grateful for living inside the kaleidoscope with the coming of spring. Gratitude is a conscious choice that is sometimes more difficult than others, but is always available and always takes the edge off. I’m grateful for gratitude practice.
I’m grateful for where I live, and for neighbors who share certain values that reflect an understanding of our interdependence. We don’t agree on everything, and some of us barely agree on anything, but we do share a love of the land on which we live, and a willingness to help each other out when what we can offer is needed. Big thanks to neighbor Joe for all the plowing he’s done this winter, and for pulling my car out of the snowbank with his tractor this afternoon.
It’s possible that there is someone in the neighborhood who didn’t look outside this evening and marvel at the truly astonishing colors that permeated everything from sky to snow to winter junipers. But it’s not likely. One of the values we share is a reverence for the beauty of the place we live.