lightness - baking - hope

Today I 

baked myself into

a lightness.

Folded thoughts into

foam whipped sugar clouds 

and lemon zest 

found the heaviness lifting 

with the wood spoon plunging deep into

pale thickness 

felt gentleness in the silky pouring

into metal frame

smelt the sweetness rising. 

A simple act of homecoming — 

thoughts and senses

welcomed home.

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homeless - digging - lavender

I dug fingers into 

the shallow soil 

of the pallet box.

Welcomed a new plant home.

Little blossoms

peaked lavender heads 

through the stems of green.

I’d held the plant 

under the hip

walking back from the shop

chatting to a friend.

He reads more than I.

But it has taken months 

to find his own space

of safety

out of the cold -

to find his own welcome home.

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harvest - plenty

Trying to tease out

eating with affection.

A gentle intent 

in the what and how

switching 

strained rigid rule for 

the farmer’s fields.

Eating as 

partaking in, 

burying hands into,

the plenty of gift

with thanks for the 

living home of the giver.

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trying - growth

I was mostly afraid

I hadn’t done enough.

Just like before I’d been afraid 

I’d done too much

of the watering

and fretting over 

the growing things.

Came back and it looked dead, done.

But came out today, 

having halfheartedly watered 

in some kind of mourning state

and found 

the growth endured and things

were still living

after all.

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dawn - holding

Morning breaks 

already stained with

the feeling of failure.

The being-under-it 

holding badly

and the chaos.

Already the lists, 

already the loose ends whipping wild. 

The impossibility of it.

But listening close, is this what

stillness of air and 

soft rumble of awakening 

speaks?

Listening to the soft ripple.

A freshness, 

newness, completeness.

A sense of being held. Enough,

Released.

 

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other faces — wounds and gifts

There is a gifting and a wounding in the exchange, the face-to-face. Singular treasure, jagged in its edges. Why does love hurt? 

Bare arms exposed in grace embrace, now scarred. 

Still, there is a gifting...

Gift continuing to be given

Kind intent behind

The tapestry of this jarring movement 

Paradox of choosing received grace. 

Life discernment overrides the judging.

Healing of love’s wounds and fresh kindness. 

New treasure given in a face, which 

Gives, uncovering itself,

An exposure, gift from private freedom,

Loosing our fettered fear, freeing

Bringing freshness from 

The wild wonder world

Outside of us...

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maple syrup - breakfast

I remember the bundle scarf knit wrapped kid stumbling out of the warm wood doors into knee deep powder and thick forests, searching for the trees tapping syrup. Sticky sweet, boiled slow over fire until reduced to golden brown. 

Today, a wild ocean away, scanning supermarket shelf, fingers run over familiar jar, recalling familiar sweetness of home. Back at the flat, old flavour is baked new as breakfast. 

Pour it slow into oats, chopped fruit and nut crunch. Mix the olive oil and salt, and bake dry. 

 Maple and Olive Oil Granola (Adapted from GP 'It's All Good')  Mix 1/2 c olive oil with 1/2 c manly syrup, a pinch of salt. Add 3 c oats, a handful (each) of chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, chopped dried fruit of choice. Bake for 25 mins at 400F. Cool, break up and store in air tight container. 

Maple and Olive Oil Granola (Adapted from GP 'It's All Good')

Mix 1/2 c olive oil with 1/2 c manly syrup, a pinch of salt. Add 3 c oats, a handful (each) of chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, chopped dried fruit of choice. Bake for 25 mins at 400F. Cool, break up and store in air tight container. 

gardening - loving a place

A love for this place 

Got under my nails like the dark dirt 

Poured over the thin stalk seedlings slowly growing. 

Grow, I whispered, over the metallic sound of the humming road,

angry voices,

gulls crying. 

A love for this place, a deep affection, grew roots, whisp-like at first, then dark and deep as the water, wind and warmth came. The roots 

held, strengthened. 

Of course, the whole thing

took time. And other’s hands.

But there was this stubborn growing.

Love grew. From affection into form.

Into the presence of the living 

Stubborn green and fruitful things.

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blossom - kindness

And then came

the kindness.

Spaciousness 

and full release. 

Bloom on trees. 

The whole breath 

filling space 

with honeysuckle

and salt sea.

Then came 

presence 

and spring

and amazement of joy. 

(You felt long in coming, but here I see, you came in perfect time). 

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community - weaving

I think, it can be easy to talk about community. Sketch out vision, dream the ending. Harder to live it. 

Harder.

Richer. 

Today human threads feel frayed. Feel fingers fumble. Wonder what to do with all the mess that wasn’t in the plan - broken words, mismatched dreams, the hunger, hurt and loneliness. Want an escape. Or a clean beginning.

Then think of weaving threads. The threads freed, then brought back again. Simple union. Repetitiously chosen. Weaves it strong. Stronger than the thin thread run away. Weaves as one this messy unknown. A kind of perfection. 

Community. The fumbling, joyful, weary, fun creating. Freedom of unity. Found pattern more perfect than all my perfected runaway dreaming.

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local farming - old fruit and veg

The wooden crate comes fortnightly, heaving with lush fruit and veg from local soil. Like most things, the favourites go fast first. While remnants shrivel brown and soft, forgotten, in rough plank corners. 

Then the flu comes, or the tight end of month finances, and the search for the remnant becomes a making do with the less here. 

Find, the forgotten things bring a richness of flavour. Pale head of cauliflower roasted with ordinary sweet potato. Tastes fresh, new, when wrinkled apple and honey pear is added. 

Who knew there were so many variations, or that the forgotten could be the ingredient we needed to find revival.

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simplicity - comfort - baking

Timer rings. Bread is brought out of oven, steaming. Dust flour hands wrap crusted softness in cotton. Taps hollow, turned onto oak board to rest.

I’ve eaten so much bread. Sliced, broken, tasted different loaves in different flavours with different faces. Milled white thick and fluffy Romanian slices with local cheese. Swedish rye, London sourdough with avos and eggs, Mamma’s overnight rolls, dad’s dark malt wedge. 

Find it comforting to have this simple food shared simply in its own way from its own place. Not really more profound a thought than that. Simply satisfying hunger holds enough of its own gold weight. 

Here’s my start at sourdough (if you don’t see another pic of this process you’ll know things probably did not completely work out with the starter...).

 

 Sourdough Starter    350 ml buttermilk     200g wholemeal flour    Mix in bowl. Cover and leave for a couple of days at 22-25C. Use when the little bubbles appear.   (Recipe adapted from  Scandinavian Baking )

Sourdough Starter 

350 ml buttermilk

200g wholemeal flour

Mix in bowl. Cover and leave for a couple of days at 22-25C. Use when the little bubbles appear. 

(Recipe adapted from Scandinavian Baking)

growth - sight - gardening

I have a friend with colour eyes. An odd but I’d say accurate description. Like, eyes that really see. Nuanced colour in the shadow. Life seeds breathing deep in forgotten dirt. 

I don’t know much about gardening. I’m used to pre-cut stems. But gardening with her is fun. Because it’s fruitfulness reveals an unexpected bounty. It’s like she trusts the ground to be fruitful. And it is.

Wonder pouring from cement blocks and broken hedges. All the forgotten ugly edges now containers for living.

I look out at my little urban yard. See the coiled metal and the broken. Then think of my gardener friend. See the same space washed with vibrance of the uncontained, uncut, creative living. Think, I’m going to go buy some seeds myself and give it a try...

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meditation - open breath

Meditation. Practicing the presence of body. Experiencing spirit and breath trembling through thin space.

The opening of space in the tightness of time.

Being released. Bringing release. 

Breathe in slow, breathe out. Allow yourself to become aware of your surroundings. The little details. Weight of the body. Fluttering eyelid. 

Hands of surrender, vulnerability. Open in trust. Restoring a simple connection.

This is one I like to use because, like breath, it connects me to my experience of Being, outside and within me (at the moment, inconveniently at 3 a.m...) 

A Pathway into Stillness (A. Ashwin)

I recommit myself to this present moment with God

I allow my body to become still, Releasing all the tension.

I listen to the sounds around me, 

And become aware of the stillness that encompasses everything

In the silence I open my heart to God.

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creating - between belief and desire

It started with another person’s quilt. With restlessness. Desire. A need to create.

I saw another person’s quilt. Liked it and thought, nice challenge. Tired of just writing, thoughts. Wanted to produce something. You know, something physical.

Make physical stuff. Ideas taken up in fingers and bones.

Anscombe says that ‘belief aims to fit the world, while desire aims for the world to fit it’. Which I still don’t really understand, but somehow think is connected to this quilt. Paradoxical tension of belief and desire.

So I started on a hunt for scraps of fresh fabric. Started to sew myself out. To create new with bits of cloth, heavy cotton, opaque linen.

Then ran out. Of money and cloth. Of the new me formed by desire. Had to lean back, uncover the bones of belief. The old scrap cloth worn good to sew into the new because there wasn’t enough structure otherwise.

New richness. Old stained glory. Desire and belief.

The quilt is huge. So heavy if I wash it, which I did once, I can’t lift it by myself. But it is also a warm, quirky shape. Original. A reminder of the process of mending, creating. The time it takes to piece things together. New and old. Of movement and waiting. 

(For more on quilts visit @afarcollection)

 


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nourishment - affection

Wendell Berry says that in order to counter the decline of rural life, we can eat responsibly. So the process of nourishing our bodies, if done in a certain way, can actually promote the wellbeing of others. Of our neighbours. Of our land. Which means that eating actually brings us into relation. Berry calls this something. Affection. 

Eating with affection. Eating as a process of peacemaking. 

I don't know about you, but eating has not always been an act of affection. Often it has been linked to shame. Eating the wrong things. Eating too much. Controlling and restricting. Tightening the grasp on nothingness. Isolation. Trying to eat to become nothing, to reduce my presence. 

Rather than nourishing the body. Deepening the interconnection between face and place.

I mix the oats from the local grocer in with the crushed fruit, honey and oil. Recognise the need for the different ingredients. The need for the farmers, for the rain and sun. All of the hands helping along the way. And all of a sudden, I feel so small and rich and dependent. The moralisation of food melts into thanks. I feel the affection of the act. Receiving what I can't produce myself from a stranger, who is a neighbour. 

Wondering where the affection will spread next. Who will this bread feed? What meals will we have? Who is hungry? The responsibility brings me deeper than shame. Shame about what I can and cannot do. About what is right and wrong. Brings me back to its beginning, its growing. And back into the community that nourishes one another. 

Berry, W. (2017). The World-Ending Fire. London: Penguin Random House. 

 Honey and Oat Banana Bread (recipe from Naturally Delicious)   2 large ripe bananas, mashed (one extra for topping)  1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil   1/2 cup honey   1/2 cup rolled oats (extra for topping)  1-3/4 cups wholemeal flour   2 eggs   1/4 milk of choice  2 tsp baking powder  2 tsp cinnamon   1 tsp vanilla extract  pinch of salt.      Preheat oven to 160 C. In bowl, combine honey and oil. Add milk, eggs, bananas. Add rest of ingredients. Pour batter into greased loaf tin. Sprinkle banana and oats on top.  Bake 45mins-1 hr. (Slice and freeze).  Served with greek yogurt, blueberries and cinnamon.

Honey and Oat Banana Bread (recipe from Naturally Delicious) 

2 large ripe bananas, mashed (one extra for topping)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 

1/2 cup honey 

1/2 cup rolled oats (extra for topping)

1-3/4 cups wholemeal flour 

2 eggs 

1/4 milk of choice

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon 

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt. 

 

Preheat oven to 160 C. In bowl, combine honey and oil. Add milk, eggs, bananas. Add rest of ingredients. Pour batter into greased loaf tin. Sprinkle banana and oats on top.  Bake 45mins-1 hr. (Slice and freeze).

Served with greek yogurt, blueberries and cinnamon.