relax

another orange moon at dawn
resting in the trees

I run out of time (again)
and feel a little panic-stricken at first
but then (realizing that some of it can, really, honestly, wait),
I manage to let go of my to-do list
and relax and enjoy my busy-ness for a while.

But (naturally) I enjoy it even more when it stops,
or at least slows down for a leisurely conversation
with my new friend, G. (from Gregorian chant),
over coffee and homemade Belgian waffles
and strawberries and maple syrup.

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raisin pie crust

light gray again
and finally some sun

I’m making crusts
for my wife’s pie
for her parents’ anniversary.

She asked what they wanted
for their anniversary,
and they asked for a pie
a raisin pie.

I like to make crusts
fingers in dough
feeling
for coarseness for fineness
for dampness for dryness.
press into a ball.

beat, smear and roll
into a thin buttery skin.
drape in a pie tin

forefinger to forefinger
and thumb,
around the edge
I pinch.

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flat line

Our recent snow accentuates the horizontal.
Against a dark gray sky and dark gray woods, I notice tree branches holding snow.
Vertical lines disappear into the gray.

I’m fasting for Ash Wednesday – nothing to eat or drink but water all day, and I’m feeling…

  • a little light-headed – not exactly
  • very hungry – yes, definitely
  • clear-headed – well, maybe for a while
  • clean – from the inside.

Every time I fast I am reminded how much time and energy I spend on food – thinking about eating, preparing food, eating, cleaning up, and it takes me hours just to get over the habit of thinking about it so much… and then I’m hungry anyway, so I think about it some more.

But eventually my mind rests from thoughts of food, and my body rests from digesting, too. With the voice of my hunger temporarily silenced, I can hear my other, quieter voices of survival more clearly – my heart beating, my lungs breathing, blood rushing through my ears. Then, even quieter, I can feel for signs of illness or health. Finally, I feel only quiet – clean, clear peace.

Fasting is a luxury, I know. Unlike real hunger, fasting is intentional. Unlike real hunger, fasting holds no worries about finding a next meal. But fasting is also a discipline. It is instructive. I relearn how to listen to my body, and I relearn how to respond – not with a knee-jerk reaction, but carefully, thoughtfully. And I hope in the end that from this quiet, from this listening will come a better ability to listen to others.

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refreeze

38 degrees in the morning, 43 in the afternoon
I believe I can smell wet earth, and I dream of gardens – fresh seedlings just sprung from the soil,
green and growing, and of running water.
But after dark my dream dissipates into fog
and flowing water freezes again
and stops.

I bake bread, working the dough with my hands because I can’t yet work the soil.

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softening

Clouds move in, so it’s not quite so cold this morning, but it’s also not so bright. I feel a bit dimmer, too. Early Monday morning, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

I bake bread, two loaves, of wheatberry bread – chewy, substantial.

Jenny makes spinach salad – with frozen blueberries we still have from last summer’s garden

By the end of the day we get more snow than expected, a light powder, maybe a half-inch. It’s easily swept away, but on the old crust of snow it stays, softening.

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snow fondant

Hard ice over the top of the snow

Not too cold, but cold enough, at least, to stop the melting.
Hoping, tonight, for more snow.

Spaetzle:
homemade, but a little rushed.
Good, but it could be better.
It deserves better from me.

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there’s always next year

At the end of my rope – 2007, and at the edge of the unknown – 2008. I’m leaving a lot of loose ends behind this year and next year feels more unknown than usual.

I eat well today:

Oatmeal for breakfast, cooked in a pot, with a little brown sugar and cinnamon.

Then dinner of spinach salad with strawberries and blueberries, a French leek pie, and a delicate sauvignon blanc – and even some baclava for my sweet tooth.

But it’s not enough. I blow it in the evening with potato chips and dip.

There’s always next year.

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almost back to normal

After Christmas cleaning up, shoveling snow and thinking about, but not making resolutions – not just yet. I’m not quite rested, so I eat leftovers of a great meal, and more pie.

It’s warm – 30 degrees – under a gentle sky. Brief sun gleams on fresh snow, but it soon eases behind thin clouds into soft, comfortable pastels.

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peace, literally

After a late night last night and warmth in a new robe and pajamas, I watch slow snow with a big slice of fresh-baked pumpkin pie generously loaded with whipped cream. The smell of baking still hangs in the air.

Merry Christmas.

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all

A faceful of steam off a baked potato,
a pat of butter,
a little sour cream,
salt and pepper,
is all.


At sunset red clouds, glowing coals stretch over us. I bend my head back to take it all in, but they are warm only on the surface. Underneath we drive on cold, snow-white china smudged with road grit.

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