Stepped out the back door with my camera yesterday afternoon, seeking a moment or two in the last of the light. Feeding my soul, I’m learning, needn’t wait. If I’ve a bit of opportunity, an open few minutes, that’s exactly the right time to take the time. Life will wait, the light won’t.
Time travel: soul searching, to soul feeding, to soul filling.
This morning, I’m living like it’s a Saturday instead of the Wednesday of a very busy week. I’m living like I’ve got all the time in the world and Sunday to spare.
If I’m living a Saturday sort of Wednesday, tasks typically saved for a Saturday morning feel just as do-able on a Wednesday before work. I can start tonight’s dinner, change the sheets, and tidy up some of the things that are down. There’s no stress on a Saturday sort of Wednesday – in fact, it’s a little comforting to set things to right. Some sort of mid-week coziness and delight in the ordinary. A momentary stay against busy.
There’s a sense of leisure on a Saturday sort of Wednesday. The realization that work can wait. That work almost always gets the best and most of me. That sometimes … sometimes … I want to give the rest of my life a turn. Make room for the writer, maybe. Show up for the part of me that feels better – feels best – when life slows to a Saturday sort of pace.
The difference lies, I think, in the decision making. In the perspective taking. In the understanding that I am in charge of my own life and how I choose, or need, to live it.
I know Wednesday’s really only a few minutes and a shower away. Just now though, I’m enjoying another cup of coffee — like it’s a Saturday.
I love to cook for you too, of course, but baking is how I’ll love you by the dozen. How I’ll thank you. Honor you. Welcome you. Or encourage you.
Cookies mostly. These for friends. Family. Church. These are especially to thank our custodian at school; they’re his favorites. And in the fall? Crisps.Cobblers. And by frequent request: pumpkin whoopie pies. (Let me tell you: nothing says love like the thick, whipped cream cheese frosting stuffed between those moist pumpkin pies.)
There’s love in a firmly packed cup of brown sugar, a leveled cup of flour, and some very special vanilla. I’m thinking about you with every spin of my spoon around the bowl, every slow pour of molasses, every sift and shake of confectioner’s sugar. Today my love smelled like freshly ground nutmeg. A first for me, and maybe for you too.
I hope you feel the full measure of my love coming from the warmth of my kitchen.
ride it out * go with it * this too shall pass * one day at a time * first things first * do the next right thing * take something off your plate * tomorrow’s another day * do something for yourself * do something for others * self-care * don’t worry, be happy * rest * relax * meditate * breathe
count your blessings * start with gratitude * it will all be there tomorrow * walk it out * talk it out * work it out * be
progress over perfection * create something * build something * clean something * move your body * organize * strategize * prioritize * trust the system * believe in yourself * have faith
unplug * disconnect * recharge* ask yourself: how important is it * will this matter: in five minutes, five hours, five days, weeks, years * follow your instincts * trust your gut * surround yourself with people who love you* spend some time alone
I’m quiet here. From inside to out. Pittsburg is a place you feel in the deepest part of you. There’s a richness to the air here, a deeper breath, and a grateful exhale. I am surprised by the slowing of me. The softening of me. Internally, there’s an easing of some sort. I feel the taut places in me go slack. I stretch my arms wide and high overhead … I reach, breathe, gather, pray. Here, I am a verb of being.
Good morning from Pittsburg, New Hampshire.
Given its 291 square miles in area, Pittsburg tops the list of incorporated New England towns as the largest. The town’s also tucked in at just about the 45th parallel — the most northern town in New Hampshire — bordering not only Canada, but Maine to the east and Vermont to the west. The longest river in New England, the Connecticut River, begins its 410 mile journey toward the Long Island Sound at Fourth Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg, a literal stone’s throw from the province of Quebec, Canada.
If you’re in need of a little soul-searching, I’d start here.
Away from home and out of the regular life loop, Pittsburg transforms me. I am different here from there. I think it’s important to notice what a place offers in these moments of the experience, but also what it has to teach me. Who am I here and can I take her home with me?
In Pittsburg I find a rare kind of hope – wild, wide-open, and free. There’s hope in the tremolo of a loon and the unexpected flash of white across the broad chest of a deer. I measure time by the movement of clouds and the flow of water. Even the scolding of a red squirrel stills my soul somehow – or maybe it’s me, myself, still enough to hear it at all. Though we hardly ever meet, moose, bear, fox and I walk the same trails and it seems certain we’ll all find our way bettered from just venturing out in the first place.
I love the whole idea of a cobbler. It’s a work-with-what-you’ve-got kind of baking. To cobble means to put together roughly or hastily. And that’s exactly the kind of time I have for baking. It’s a hurry up sort of season. Gather the last of the harvest. Enjoy the very last of summer’s bounty.
Baking. One of my very favorite ways to create. The warmth of the kitchen. The delight in mixing the ordinary to become extraordinary. The anticipation of opening the oven. The certain happiness which comes from leveling a cup of flour. And now … cobbling!
Here’s to the last of the peaches!
Basic Fruit Cobbler
from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion
Any fruit you bake in a pie, you can add to a cobbler. Peaches, in this case, but apples, pears, cherries, and berries of all kinds work.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup sherry, brandy, or bourbon*
3 to 4 cups fresh fruit (large fruits sliced, berries left whole)
whipped cream or ice cream
*If you’d rather not use liquor, increase the milk in the recipe to 1/4 cup and use a mixture of 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of water in place of the liquor. (This is the option I chose and it was delightful!)
Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch square pan (or similar casserole dish) or an 11-inch round quiche dish.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Beat together the eggs and 1 cup of the sugar. Add butter and milk. Add the flour mixture, stirring just to combine. Pour the batter into the greased pan.
In a medium-sized saucepan, simmer together the sherry (or the mixture noted above) and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the fruit and stir to coat with the syrup. Pour this hot fruit mixture over the batter in the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.