Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Haiku in 3 parts

These past few days have been warm, overcast and wet. Everything spring ought to be.  A haiku, times three, in celebration.


Peepers sing at dusk.

The loons swim on pristine lakes.

Rivers swell and roar.


Warm rain pounds tin roofs.

Snow melts away like sugar

dissolved in water.


Lightening flashes bright.

Thunder shakes windows and walls.

Still - the peepers sing.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Right Now

When it's over, I want to say: All my life, I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms."
--Mary Oliver

I want to go through my day, present and aware. I want to listen to the spaces between the words.  The short sigh before a breath. The pause and glance that punctuate a thought. I want to revel in shadows cast by the light, drink in the color of water, feel the thumping bass of music in my chest, the light touch of a friend on my shoulder.

Going through the steps of each day - waking, eating, working, sleeping and glossing over the details, can be a comfort when the chaos and pressures of life are relentless. Yet it is not sustainable, this robotic march. It is the details of life that make it worthwhile, distinguishable from any other life.

So, in spite of the gray sky and threat of snow this morning, I'll take in the sharpness of the cold, feel the pull in my muscles, relish the heat of coffee in my belly. and be present.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's For Dinner - Part II

It's April and I've had my fill of roots, tubers and winter squash. I am craving the smell of dirt, the sight of leafy greens, the feel of crunchy textures and the taste of ripe fruit and herbs.

Alas, this time of year, fresh food is still pretty scarce for someone who tries to eat seasonally and locally. The last two weeks, I've tried to balance my craving for fresh food with my increased need for calories (yay for running and cycling!) and keep it affordable, balanced, kid-friendly and in season.

Last fall's frozen pork, beans, cheese, preserved and lacto-fermented foods from last summer have dominated my menus. I've tried to mix it up with some greens here and there, finding that some of our local folks have harvests of the leggy, but pretty miner's lettuce, baby spinach and baby kale, not to mention the wonderfully crunchy, fresh pop of sprouts - sunflower, radish and pea. Yum!
  • Black bean, chevre and swiss chard tacos w/ sofrito (made with last summers' cilantro, chilies, parsley)
  • Yellow split pea soup with local ham and topped with cheddar. Fresh baked bread and cold hard cider.
  • Lacinato kale and white bean soup. Key is lots of onions and garlic and don't skimp on the salt.
  • Cheese Souffle. It's not as scary as it sounds. I use Fanny Farmer's recipe for Sturdy Souffle and pair it with spinach salad dressed with dried cranberries, walnuts, apples and balsamic vinaigrette. It's a snap. And really tasty too.
  • Red wine risotto with wild mushrooms, tomatoes (frozen from last summer), fresh parsley and shaved aged, sheeps cheese. Inspired by one i had at Burlington's Church & Main. For the kids, I make it with veggie broth instead of wine and let them pick out the mushrooms if they don't want them.
  • Baked local ham with mustard, cream and maple syrup. Serve with roasted carrots, potatoes, fresh parsley and lots of butter.
  • Crepes of ham (yay for leftovers!), apples and cheddar cheese.
  • French lentils topped with sauteed kale, bacon, fresh pickled red onions and blue cheese. Add a fresh farm egg, fried sunny side up in bacon fat with a glass of chewy red wine and you've got my favorite meal by the wood stove on a rainy, spring evening.
  • Kimchi and pita chips. Don't ask. It's an addiction.
  • Mix of whole wheat and white penne served with 3 hour meat sauce and bechamel (white sauce), layered side by side and topped with radish sprouts and aged sheep cheese.
  • Take out Indian food. Rutland. A one time thing, but still thinking about it. A lot.
  • Grilled, 3 cheese sandwiches with herb pesto or sliced apples.
  • My version of bibimbap. Chewy, fried, sweet tofu marinated in maple syrup-soy-ginger and served with steamed rice, barely cooked red cabbage, carrots, spring onions and kale. Topped with kimchi, of course!
As I type this, I just noticed the thin, bright wisps of chives in my herb bed poking up above the brown grass. I'm thinking snipped, fresh bits on a warm roll with chevre.

Happy spring!

    April Rain

    The rain is coming down with purpose this morning, so here is some Wednesday morning, rain inspired haiku.

    Winter's cold soil
    receives warming rainfall.
    Green tips push and peek

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    20 Days Later...

    ...and I am still practicing my poses two or three times a week. Slowly, quietly, I'm getting better.

    Bending. Stretching. Breathing.

    Each pose is a challenge, dampening my enthusiasm. Every pop and click and ache, reminds me that I'm getting older.

    Touching. Pulling. Breathing.

    I feel the frustration of not touching my heels to the floor when I push up into Downward Dog. A sharp pain through my abdomen causes me to retract from a hip opening pose, whose name I've forgotten. I hesitate before bringing down my knee and sitting in Pigeon. I take a deep breathe and try to relax.

    Standing. Sitting. Resting.

    I stand on the edge of my old, blue mat, my hands at my side, conscious of my posture. Looking out my window to the expanse of brown and green grass before me, I remember to breathe.  I take in the light, the clouds, the dead leaves in my garden. I look inward, humbled by my smallness and my limitations.

    The past few months have been hard and it's been a lesson in patience, easing back into yoga. It's also been a lesson in forgiveness. I sink into a seated position, close my eyes, allowing the music from the radio to fill my mind.

    Spring in the Village

    Red robin swoops across the road,

    landing on a patch of bleached brown grass.

    Blue sky is laced by glinty snow,

    icy, crusty, mounds.

    Boys playing soccer,

    and girls jumping rope.

    Boot clad feet dangle from tree limbs.

    An old woman across the street,

    sits with face turned to sun,

    hat pulled low, mitten clad hands folded.

    An old dog, sleeps at her feet.

    A butterfly hovers by her shoulder.

    Friday, April 08, 2011

    Poem: The Life of Umbrellas by Rachel Dacus

    The Life of Umbrellas
    I want to live the life of umbrellas,
    full of sudden openings, of stealth and travel.
    To sometimes fold my bat wing heart away
    and reach over your head
    to close you in a bubble.
    On the path across the Ponte Vecchio 
    in light drizzle, I would parasail you, keeping out 
    the scorch of a moghul-arched cloud,
    the rattle of a strong gust. I might turn 
    inside out, becoming the reverse 
    of myself, and you could follow,
    unsuiting as fast as gypsy fingers
    find a pocket on a March day 
    in a square dotted with drops.
    by Rachel Dacus
    Courtesy of Gumball Poetry   
    Artwork by Claudio Parentela  

    Thursday, April 07, 2011

    Shake the Dust

    Performed by Anis Mojgani in 2007. Beautiful.

    "This is for the fat girls. The little brothers, the wimpy kids in the school yard and the bullies. Shake the dust."


    Wednesday, April 06, 2011

    A Late Spring

    The walk down to the school's farm is slippery, slushy and cold. The rain feels icy and the wind whips my hair into knots. Carefully, tentatively, I pick my way over sloping, frozen ruts.

    Drawing closer to the barn, I feel warmer, the building acting as a shelter from the wind. I swear there is heat emanating from beneath the doors and swirling up around my legs.

    Stepping inside away from the weather, my eyes slowly adjust to the darkness while I listen to the clucking, scratching and chewing of the animals. It smells of damp hay and something else. Maybe it's my imagination? I breathe in the odor of pungent animals and old wood. It is not altogether unpleasant.

    A small gate separates me from the stalls. Feeling a dozen pair of strange eyes - penetrating stares - watch me as I fiddle with the rickety gate, I am self conscious. I glance over my shoulder, sheepishly, but no one is there to smirk at my ineptitude with latches.

    Be strong. Carry on. The promise of infants draw me in.

    I head to the back where tiny heads, revealing tiny horns, poke out between the boards of their stalls. Kneeling, I reach out, remembering the last time I pet a goat, I was in a city zoo with my toddler children.

    One kid, covered in a silky white coat, steps away, startled at my assertiveness. I notice the tag, pierced to its ear. I talk softly. He or she, (does it matter?) filled with sudden courage, pushes at my hand and nibbles the cuff on my coat. I am in love. I finger the green, plastic tag, unable to read the writing in the dark barn.

    Friday, April 01, 2011

    In B flat

    Music and spoken word. Play one, two or all of the videos at the same time. They work harmoniously together no matter the order or volume.



    April Fool's

    Today, the first of April, marks April's Fools and  today, on April Fool's, we are in the midst of a snow storm.

    This snow storm, at one time, was predicted to dump a foot of snow on all of us spring-obsessed mountain dwellers here in the Green Mountain state. Now that it is here, a mere 4 to 6 inches has made its way to the ground, perfect for some springtime skiing or as one friend put it, "enough to make me sit in the house and cry".

    Cry not sweet friend, for today is also the first day of National Poetry Month!!

    I look forward to this month every year -- the same way a cat waits in anticipation for a mouse to scurry along the wall. Wait for it.

    Wait. For. It.

    A whole month that celebrates poems! Written, spoken, illustrated in countless ways! It's such a wonderfully contemplative way to spend mud season, that once it arrives, my brain twitches with all the things I've wanted to express and hope to experience through the eyes, mind and words of others.

    Because I read poetry with only an innate understanding of rhythm, rhyme and lyrical prose, I do not pretend to have an understanding of good versus bad poetry. Or good versus great poetry. Yet when I read something I like, it stays with me a long, long time. It makes me think, laugh, sometimes it has made me cry. I've read poems that leave a warmth inside me the way hot tea on a cold day, tracks heat from my mouth to my belly. It's delicious.

    So, in honor of national poetry month and snow on the first of April, a haiku for you.

    The snow falls quickly

    Red-winged blackbirds fall silent

    The fools of April