Monday, January 26, 2015

Little Friend on the Trail

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday - Saying Yes to the World

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once, life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
Barry Lopez

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Ramble - Enough/Enoughness

The adjective enough dates from before the year 900, having its origin in the Middle English enogh, and Old English genōh; both are cognate with the German genug, Gothic ganohs and  Old Norse nōgr.  The Old English geneah (it suffices) and Sanskrit naśati (reaches or reaching) are kindred words.

Roget gives us the following: abundant, adequate, ample, full, sufficient, suitable, acceptable, bountiful, comfortable, competent, complete, copious, decent, enough already, plentiful and satisfying.  Frugal and its noun form frugality are modern kin and words I sometimes use in conversation.

I find myself thinking of Lewis Hyde, and if you haven't already read his The Gift or Trickster Makes This World, think about doing so. To cultivate enoughness is see things differently, to make the best possible use of what we are given, to appreciate what we already have and embrace the non-commercial aspects of our creativity. It is to tread lightly on the earth, reducing our ecological footprint and lessening demands on a world strained almost beyond its regenerative powers by human excess, greed and contempt.

Embracing enough, we use what we have been given with grace, respect and thanksgiving, partaking of a wild and earthy fruitfulness, a careful abundance and an ethic of universal stewardship. We are walking through this world rooted and knowing our place in it, living as the good stewards, artists and creators we were meant to be. Lewis Hyde says it a lot better than I ever could.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thursday Poem - The Road

Here is the road: the light
comes and goes then returns again.
Be gentle with your fellow travelers
as they move through the world of stone and stars
whirling with you yet every one alone.
The road waits.
Do not ask questions but when it invites you
to dance at daybreak, say yes.
Each step is the journey; a single note the song.

Arlene Gay Levine
(From Bless the Day: Prayers and Poems to Nurture Your Soul)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sunlight and Saffron

An icy morning, minute morsels of sunlight scattered like stars, a deep cold that goes right to the bones and threatens to ossify one's whole metabolism - the parts not already frozen in place by Lady Winter, that is. The situation is underwhelming to say the least, and I am not alone in my feelings. When I tried to entice Spencer into going out a few minutes ago, he peered out into the garden, gave me a filthy look, turned his back on the door and trotted back to bed.

What to do? On days like this one, faraway spices and exotic concoctions go dancing through one's sconce.  The quick fix is a nice long sit, frothy cappuccino or latte in a bright mug and a stack of favorite cookbooks nearby. This morning's selection includes the books below, but there are bound to be a few others added to the pile before I plunk myself down to ponder and scheme. Here is a koan of sorts.... How many cookbooks can one female read at a go? Does it matter?

Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Mangoes and Curry Leaves, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
The Seductions of Rice, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Beyond the Great Wall, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
The Complete Tassajara Cookbook, Edward Espe Brown
Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon
Sunlight Cafe, Mollie Katzen
The Greens Cookbook, Deborah Madison
Savory Ways, Deborah Madison
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Deborah Madison
Full Moon Feasts, Jessica Prentice
Everyday Greens, Annie Somerville
Fields of Greens, Annie Somerville
The Vegetarian Epicure (Volumes 1 & 2) Anna Thomas

It's off into the kitchen a little later. I feel a fiery Asian concoction coming upon me, something filled with color and redolent of spices - whatever I batch up this morning is definitely going to contain saffron and a little curry. Such creations evoke sunlight and warmer climes, perfect for a winter day when one can't run around outside with her camera, and even her canine soulmate refuses to go out.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday - Saying Yes to the World

We are here to abet creation and to witness it, to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but we notice each other's beautiful face and complex nature so that creation need not play to an empty house.

According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.
Annie Dillard, The Meaning of Life