I am traveling again this week, so I wanted to prepare my post ahead of time. A few sentences in, however, the phone rang. At a glance I knew two beloved voices and a birthday were involved at the other end. Though it was my only writing window, the meaningful action was clear, so I answered the phone and shared a warm conversation.
After I hung up, the following phrase charged into my head, and I was moved to take the rest of my writing time to letter it instead–
May love drop many whats for you this week–
To listen to this post, please click here: Circadia
I am procuring and organizing equipment for next Saturday’s departure to Montana where I will join several family members for a week’s journey in the wilderness. I will be out of all techno-range for the duration and wanted to let you know I won’t be posting next week. But I certainly look forward to sharing with you when I get back. Meanwhile, here’s a poem newly-hatched for you.
I wished for a day made of mornings:
its tissues of night dissolving,
world slipping over my head anew
in easy long-sleeved shadows:
a day repeatedly arrayed
in crisp unwrinkled promise.
As it grew limp, or sullied
or scorched, I pulled a fresh start
from the closet again and again—
pristine for each task, for each practice.
But seeing what I sacrificed
for the sake of enterprise:
the slanting satin afternoon,
the tulle of twilight, the silk-bodied moon-
I cast off my wish and dance,
wrapped in the aprons of time.
Am deep into my large writing project–hence I offer you the little koan above, which recently appeared in my notebook.
If you’d like more this week, I’m happy to say The Cookie Crumbles, a short piece of mine, was published just yesterday in Midway Journal–you can read it here:
Also, poet/travel writer Kristin Maaffei has posted an interview with me today on her blogsite, Not Intent On Arriving. Read it here and explore her world as well–
As always, thanks for keeping me writing!
A Final Poetry Gift –he takes the stage all to himself:
See you next week!
To listen to this post, please click here: Listening To My Elders
Dagnab ‘em. Birds are peckin’ at ‘em, but loads of purple caviar still droops on the stem. The valuable, healthy elderberries are ready, ripening the crop of guilt that started when they bloomed. (Elderflowers are also good for you, and I picked none of them.)
I have images to scan, emails to dispatch, but a few days ago, I yielded to the yield. Tiptoe on the wall to harvest them, I’ll make Elderberry Syrup, I tell myself. I ordinarily buy it –it’s good for colds.
But scouting a recipe a half hour and a basin-ful later, I discover you can’t toss leaves, stems and berries in a pot, boil them and strain it later, as I’ve always done with red currants. Elder leaves and stems are poisonous (as are the uncooked berries.) Oh, great. Another step.
Joy of Cooking tells me freeze ‘em and the berries’ll drop right off. For three days a cookie sheet of pointy, fruity stems obstructs all freezer justice, raining icy peppercorns everywhere every time we open or close the drawer. Yesterday, at last, it was time to take time to shake them off their stems, make syrup, put things by, appreciate things, dagnab it!
Phooey. Still stuck to their stems. Have to pluck these thousands manually. I stopped cursing and began pulling. Called my old friend Cecile, chatted as if we were quilting. When the conversation was over, so was the stemming.
So, Elderberry Syrup. How exactly? No recipe in Joy of Cooking, just one for Elderberry Vinegar. But wait. Just roast the elderberries in cider vinegar for 90 minutes, let it sit a day, strain and bottle it? I could start half the berries right now while I look for syrup instructions. So I did. (It turned out well–a wonderful wallop of flavor.)
While the vinegar simmered, I found this helpful syrup video from Mountain Rose herbs, calling for ginger, cinnamon and honey. Took only twenty minutes. Deep, delightful flavor and very nourishing. (If you’re not blessed with an elder bush, you can use dried berries.)
Cut to dinner. We usually don’t have a cocktail, but the crystal summer night made a martini seem just the thing. Alas. No vermouth. “Shall I go get some?” John asks. “No, not worth it. I’ll make something else,” I say, browsing a bar book.
Then, lightbulb! What about Elderberry Martinis? The Big Bartender In the Sky guided my hand. Using both blossom and berry, I created a recipe on the spot. Very tasty, not too sweet (and full of antioxidants!) I call it:
THE WISE ELDER
2 oz gin (I used Magellan, a floral gin)
½ oz St Germain Elderflower liquer
½ oz elderberry syrup
½ oz lime juice (or to taste)
Shake with ice, strain and garnish with lime.
For an alcohol-free version, just mix the syrup with seltzer and lime.
Do enjoy it, with appreciation for all the pleasures of listening to your elders.
Goodbye for now, friends–we’re headed overseas. I’ll be back in a month with new stories to share. Meanwhile, please check back to hear some of the poets your fellow readers have voted to hear in my absence!