Saturday, April 27, 2013

Eating Wild

Spring is everywhere, and so are the weeds! But this year, when I pulled out the wild garlic, instead of throwing it out, I saved it, and after about an hour of weeding, I had a whole bunch of wild garlic.

It took a little while to clean them and cut out the bulbs and the tips, but it was a slow pleasurable task, reminding me of olden days when not everything came cleaned and packaged at the supermarket.

I got some mint too, that grew back from last year - an early herb that I'm delighted to welcome before basil comes along later in the summer.

And in a grinder, made a pesto with the wild garlic, the mint, a few almonds, one green chili, a splash of olive oil, and a dash of salt. Tossed with penne pasta, it was a surprisingly delicious dish that smelled and tasted  like spring! The wild garlic didn't exactly taste like garlic or onion, and yet it tasted like them - mildly daring - I guess an oxymoron of flavors, but it was an adventure - my wild adventure.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Magnolia Explosion

Everywhere I turn - blooming magnolias
Pink ruffly petals, creamy white throats
Like candles in the wind: here today, gone tomorrow,
But oh how glorious their little lives: dripping joy even as they fall.


Friday, April 12, 2013

From Darkness into Light (can I do it?)

"The self is in the dark because it is blinded by a light greater than it can bear. So the soul, by reason of its impurity, suffers exceedingly when the Divine Light really shines upon it."
~St. John of the Cross

So I have one answer to one of my thousand questions: what is going on with me? The answer jumped out at me as the title of a book off a library shelf - Dark Night of the Soul. The knowing that it is the right answer comes from within, in a flash, and now I have a name for my suffering. It's not just a mood I'm going through, but a threshold I'm trying to cross, a feeling I'm trying to name, a meaning I'm trying to define, a hole I'm trying to fill.
The Threshold - gateposts in mist - foggy boundaries - doorway - enchanted portal - original nature photography - wall art - 8x10

What it is I'm going to fill the hole with, I don't yet know, but the recognition of a dark night helps me mop up my soggy, sodden, messy feelings a little. The naming helps define, distance, and detach myself to understand, dig deeper, find the right plug I'm looking for. It helps me understand my child-like retreat into a comfortable corner, my craving for womb-like silence and solitude, my resistance to anything social or remotely related to relationships, my clinging to daily rituals like sun-gazing and candle-lit meditations, and my only feeling safe in nature and in my bed.

Whether this is normal or not, whether people understand it or not, I don't know. I used to think a dark night was more like a single night of suffering, but in my case, it's turning out to be a series of seasons, winters changing into springs, Saturn parked solidly in my house and not going anywhere. For years now, I haven't been able to cross this threshold. When I come to it, I stand still, afraid to make a move. I sit at the threshold, camp out, the grass growing around me, but I don't break out of my tight bud.

Blooming Magnolia - pink and pale green - flower and buds - mothers day - baby room - original floral photography - wall art - 5x7
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
~Anais Nin

I cling to my cozy cocoon, afraid, not knowing if I'd ever become a butterfly. I'm afraid I'm not worthy enough, truthful enough, kind enough, pure enough, or just enough, to transform into a butterfly. I'm not sure if I'm ready to let go of my childish caterpillar self and mature into a true adult.

But I need to acknowledge that this is the way of the soul; the only way it can grow and fly and soar is if it can break open out of its tightly bound chrysalis of beliefs, boundaries, fears, insecurities, resistances. I need to break out of my chrysalis to cross that threshold. I need to pray for the lamp that will guide me across the threshold, through the dark passage of this night.
Seek your Cave - seek treasure - joseph campbell - turquoise ocean - original travel / nature photography - wall art 8x10

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Volunteering at Winterthur

Winterthur was home to several generations of the du Pont family, but now the 1,000 acres of rolling lands and house are open to public - the house is a museum, and the gardens are a horticultural paradise.

I've visited it before and always wanted to go back, so after months of stalling and deliberation (mostly due to lack of time) on where to volunteer, Winterthur seemed like the perfect place. No, it's not the food bank or the soup kitchen, and I did/do feel guilty about not spending time on serving the poor or saving the planet, but I had to go with my heart. My heart soars in nature - I feel like I'm touching God when I'm among trees and touching plants, and leaves, and twigs and flowers and birds and bugs and beasts.

So when the opportunity to volunteer at Winterthur came up, it seemed like the perfectly packaged present - a 1000 acres to explore! And if that's somehow helping their scant staff of 16 garden employees, then I'm happy to help!
 On this first day of volunteering, it was mostly an orientation session with 9 or 10 other excited people like me. After the orientation, we were let loose to wander around the gardens, peek into the house, window-shop at their store. It was a lovely spring day full of sunshine and blue skies. The March Bank was carpeted in blue scilla flowers and bordered by a string of daffodils.

The next flowers that are almost about to burst open are azaleas, and I'm hoping I'll get my volunteer badge by then!