These Are My Words

These Are My Words

I worked my way through the raised bed, swirling compost with soil until the overall effect resembled fudge-marble ice cream.  The original idea was to use my trowel on hands and knees, but just minutes in and the obvious revealed itself to me:  I love to run my fingers through dirt; to temper the loamy earth with my very own hands.  Like reading the story of my life - past, present and future by braille, only this story's words are formed by clumps of small pebbles mixed with crunchy wintered soil, held together with a long held breath of dampness caught between my fingertips where I roll this rich brown-black earth back and forth until it begins to fall like fine dust, back into the bed, back to where I lay my worries to rest and form the words of my dreams.

Theo and Sully are just a few feet away, busy - very, very busy with work of their own.  They are working together to dig a hole and after it is dug they will fill it with water.  It is a wild mess, but I am quick to remind myself of who it is that encourages this wondrous play.  I remember with fondness my early childhood days; my mud bakery.  The cookies and cakes and pies I would sling out with a tattered wooden spoon and rusty tin pie plates, garnishes of hibiscus and a speedy-slow collection of rolly pollies my customers.

The hole is now filled with water.  Mud is made.  I listen as one claims to be churning butter and another exclaims these will be the best cupcakes ever!  And then a robin comes to a swift landing on the fence just above their heads, wisps of silken thread shimmering in the sunlight - the boys' hair and her feathers.  She is still and curious from where she rests on her perch.  Just then, right then, absolutely everything was right in my world.  

And just as everything in that moment was perfection, the next moment was yang.  Then Sully began yelling and crying.  Mud was flung into his butter.  Theo yells back that he was only "seasoning" it.  Above, rust wings aflutter as mud flies and unkind words drop like bird shit all over the glorious sun-baked cupcakes and golden cream.

In mayhem's midst, I unfold from my hands and knees, one vertebrae at a time until I am standing tall and adjust my role as mud shop's peacekeeper.  Roles and words righted.  Feelings patched with warm, wet earth.  We resume.

I fold myself back to my hands and knees this time rolling words one at a time as I turn my focus back to the raised bed, the dirt.

Thinking.  Plotting.  Dreaming.  Compromising.  Guiding.  Digging.  Planting.  Loving.  Perfectly imperfect.

These are my words.

{revised from the original essay My Words on Mama May I in the spring of 2012}


Spring Cleaning

On my hands and knees, I plant my palms in the earth and with my fingertips break up clumps of dirt - back and forth until big chunks become fine grain.  Head down, heart open, this is my idea of feeling something exquisiteSide by side, I watch seeds and bulbs begin to spring forth, beautiful growth mirrored back to me, while Sully and his pal play "house" in a fort and a very busy robin flies back and forth collecting bits and pieces for her nest, eyes on us.

This week marks my fourth week in the studio on the mat.  In our poses we focused on resetting our intentions.  Allowing old dirt to exhale away like grey smoke and allow new purpose to come in on the inhale.  We worked to create space for light and all that newness to move in.  This practice is humbling.  I am so grateful to have found my way back.

As if warmth and gardening and spring awakening is not enough for one week, I walked each of my boys just before bedtime to the top of our staircase where we have a big window.  I simply picked them up one at a time and held them up to the beautiful view of dusky sky.  What do you see?  I asked.  Eyes open wide, searching.  Eyes sparkling.  The Moon!  The moon!

Did you see it?



That words are windowpanes in a ransacked hut, 
smeared by time's dirty rains, we might argue likewise that words are 
clean as glass till the sun strikes it blinding
--Adrienne Rich, Transparencies


Pasta, Glaze, and Muffins. Spring Recipes

I was in a bit of a cooking and baking rut.  Braised, roasted, soups, apples, potatoes.  Tired.  This past week I bought pounds of strawberries and my second bag of Meyer lemons.  I bought rosemary and greens.  Suddenly my kitchen didn't feel so tired anymore.  With mostly what I had on hand, I made these three recipes, two of them more than once. 

I made this pasta - twice.  I used fresh tomatoes and instead of using broccoli, which I did not have on hand, I tossed the cooked pasta mixture on top of a handful of fresh baby kale and spinach and squeezed even more fresh Meyer lemon on top.  Simple and delicious.

I made this glaze but instead of using salmon I used grilled chicken.  On the side we had wild rice and asparagus.  So good!

I've made two batches of these muffins, one batch yesterday for my neighbor and this morning I made a batch for us.  The smell of strawberries and rosemary roasting is heavenly.  I love Beth Kirby's recipes (and her gorgeous writing and photography).  I rarely change a thing she does, only this time I added a light dusting of lavender sugar to the tops of the batter before baking for a bit of crunch.  I also left out the rosemary in the batter, only using rosemary with the roasted strawberries because my kids are very weird about too many little bits of green in their food. 

All three of these recipes will be made over and over again in my kitchen, they were that good.  (And easy!)

Tonight we're trying The Pioneer Woman's grilled chicken and pineapple quesadillas.  I'm guessing they're going to be really good, as so many of her recipes are.  Off to grocery shop...

What's cooking in your kitchen these days?