It feels so good to spend a little time in the garden. Not much, it barely broke freezing today, and I had to shovel a path to get inside the raised beds. But when I pulled the heavy plastic off the wire cage I’d set up to pre-warm soil for spring, I was thrilled to see lots of little green weeds sprouting inside. It’s time to plant carrots and peas, maybe garlic, frost hardy crops that can get a head start in the heat cage. I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned about gardening, all the teachers locally and in books and online, and for the greening of the land that’s beginning again.
I woke to this mystery: Where are the mountains? Obscured by clouds. Just as my core values, my solid foundation, can sometimes be obscured by clouds of emotions, ruminations, or fears. But it’s good to know they are still there, to be revealed again when the clouds lift.
I also woke to this lovely little puzzle which I assembled on my desk yesterday while listening to a number of talks online. Monet’s Sailboat at Le Petit-Gennevilliers, a simple 9×12 Liberty with only 272 pieces. It was an easy, meditative thing to do with my eyes and hands as I deepened my understanding of trauma, and how mindfulness, sleep, family systems, and evolution among other things, relate to it. This puzzle seemed to be about 40% whimsy pieces, a high ratio, and they were so delightful.
Lots of fish and other sea creatures, and lots of seagulls, feathers, clouds, and sailboats. This one practically fell together despite the tricky colors, whose grays and blues were reflected not only in the water here, but also in the sky today as I disassembled the puzzle.
The mountains did reappear briefly between snow squalls this afternoon. By bedtime almost a foot of soft, light snow has fallen. I’m grateful for this abundant replenishment for our mountain aquifer, and for the moisture that will melt into my own little garden. Just yesterday I noticed the first tiny threads of crocus leaves peeking up from the soil. I’m grateful for making friends with impermanence, knowing that in another day the sun will shine again on our valley, that this much-needed snow will nurture wildflowers, wildlife, crops, and our own bodies as winter thaws into spring, spring into summer.
Sourdough. I’ve mentioned it before, but, in that way that we spiral back to the same place, we deepen our understanding with each revolution, I understand sourdough, and dough in general, much better now, having practiced with it; as a potter with clay, to comprehend its texture, properties, behavior. It’s a living thing, which I knew, but now I know better.
My sourdough starter, which I’ve been using for … how many, Ruthie? at least six years, went… well, sour. I left it for so long in the fridge, slid it to the back in recent months after keeping it thriving for years. When I remembered and pulled it forward, liquid on top was more than usual, grey, and stinky! It smelled awful. I poured it off down the drain, and rinsed a couple of times with fresh, clear water. I left half an inch of fresh cold water on top of the fairly firm sponge, let it sit for a day, rinsed again, and fed it by mixing in equal parts flour and water. For the past week, I’ve been pouring off discard, a new concept to me (the enemy of learning is the presumption of knowledge), and baking with it.
Twice I’ve made sourdough biscuits, with great success. Sourdough pizza crust was a winner, and half of that dough is in the freezer to see if it works as well later.
Tonight is sourdough focaccia.
Tomorrow is Boyz Lunch, the first of the season. It is finally warm enough to lunch outside, relaxed, without too many layers, sun-warmed flagstone patio, shade cast from the umbrella sufficient only to dim the glare of that low spring sun, not enough to put us in shadow; we will be warm with lunch in our sweatshirts and ballcaps. Spring is on its way, and how we’ll welcome it, a longlost friend, respite, color, joy.
I’m grateful for cosmic equanimity on this day of equal light and dark. The harshest of winter is behind us and the harshest of summer unimaginable yet. Today begins the official sweet spot between extremes, a great place to dwell.
I truly am grateful today because I saw the first flying insects of the year. I don’t know what they were, they didn’t buzz, but I saw one on the front walkway late morning, and another near the vegetable garden in the afternoon, just fleeting little dark things flying by. Another sign of spring!
Today I’m grateful for crusty snow, allowing a different type of walk through the woods than usual. I skirt the trees, off trail, walking an uneven path along drip lines, where shallow crusty snow meets frozen juniper duff, picking my way carefully to avoid punching through unsupportive crust over deeper snow, aimlessly following the dog’s nose; the cat Topaz both follows and leads, intermittently running up trees. I’m always eyeing these trees: which can go altogether, and which can simply be trimmed, an ongoing fire mitigation and path pruning exercise.
Stepping along atop snow crust has its own peculiar charms, or there would rarely be reason to do it. The simplest way to explain it is to say it’s fun! How well can I gauge the crust’s strength step by step? How far can I walk without punching through with an uncomfortable jolt that sends snow down into the sides of my shoes? It’s a game of chance, and carries a similar allure to any other gamble; though the satisfaction is purely mental, and the risk of injury is real.
We explored until I was too hungry to continue then turned home, a well-earned hour of reality after a morning at the desk, a quotidian adventure with cat and dog, discovering new trees to climb and photograph, lifting our legs high to step over sticks and sagebrush, giving our hips and thighs good exercise.
I’m grateful when I remember to do the things that bring home to me why I chose this place to be home.