Archives for the month of: February, 2014

aromatic oils
tangy sweet & light bitter
grapefruit explosion
(1.9.2014)IMG_1039

We finished the last of the grapefruit yesterday.  Five was the limit to what I could fit in my carry-on bag when we returned from Arizona last month.  Five grapefruit and a dozen tangerines, all of which were grown in my parents’ backyard.

The tangerines are ridiculously seedy and marvelously sweet.  Mixed with the juicing oranges, also in my parents’ backyard, they make for a sublime beverage (that is the reason I do not, with very rare exception, drink orange juice – I am ruined for anything but fresh squeezed).

We meted out the five grapefruit.  Each one split and sections loosened with a newly purchased grapefruit knife.  Breaking the day’s fast with a sumptuous yellow fruit that bursts with the flavor of sunshine in a wedge.

I love everything about citrus.  An olfactory delight – it’s crisp and refreshing.  It’s impossible to feel sleepy and eat grapefruit, tangerines, or oranges.  Just try it.

While grapefruit is my favorite, I am partial to the tangerines – my parents planted that tree the year I was born.  I think of it as “my” tree. As a child, they were my favorite.  It wasn’t until sometime many decades later, I realized that grapefruit had nudged the little orange spheres aside.

Growing up, I did what most children do, I emulated my parents.  My mother ate grapefruit by cutting it in half, releasing two sides of the three-sided wedge using a special grapefruit knife (not all sides, that is key), then sprinkling it with sugar.  That is how it was done.

In high-school, it seemed I was often on a diet.  One allowed me to eat ½ a grapefruit for breakfast – but no sugar.  It seemed painful and austere, but rules are rules and I began eating the giant yellow citrus without sugar.  Today, I cannot fathom adding sugar – it would be like covering Mona Lisa’s smile.

It’s the hint of bitter that sets what the French call the pamplemousse apart from its citrus cousins.  Like life, what would the sweet be if not set off by a subtle hint of bitter?

Of course, there are the Lemon and Lime twins.  Not edible (unless it’s a Meyer Lemon – thought to be a cross between a conventional lemon and a mandarin orange – delish!), yet indispensible.  A gin and tonic sans lime? Blasphemy in a glass!  We can eat fish without a lemon wedge sidekick, but why?

Lemonade? Limeade?  Heaven.  Heaven in a glass, especially lemonade made by my sister who could win a blue ribbon for the lemonade she used to make from the fruit on one of her trees. (Sadly, that tree passed away and we are eagerly awaiting the fruiting of the replacement lemon-lime tree.  A tree with both!  Ah, the wonder of hybrid horticulture.)

Sigh…

Citrus conjures summer and sunshine and all things bright  – sun on the sand and surf, cheery striped beach umbrellas…  Who could ask for more in the midst of winter?

red breasted robins
early for this spring’s soirée
it’s snowing right now!
(2.13.2014)

The most amazing thing just happened!

It’s a snowy day. It started promptly at 7:15 this morning and has been steady and heavier for the last several hours.  Having declared today a PJ day, I am cocooned in my pink fuzzy robe and flannel PJs.  I’ve spent the morning absorbed in writing, perusing job postings, and intermittently emailing. I got up to pour myself a warm-up splash of coffee when fluttering movement in the limbs of the trees across the driveway in front of our house caught my attention.

Was that a robin? I thought Nah… and returned to the kitchen table-cum-home office.  Looking at my laptop screen I saw movement in my peripheral vision. My attention was drawn outside again, this time through the dining room window on the backside of the house.

I couldn’t believe my eyes – there were robins all over the branches of a bush and a nearby tree.  I counted and re-counted.  At least sixteen!  But it was snowing.  Aren’t robins supposed to be seen when there are buds on the trees?robin

I got my husband in on the bird peeping.  He pulled out his camera and snapped away.  We watched for several minutes as the birds jumped, fluttered and swirled around the bush, tree and house.  It was magical!

We are big believers in signs from the Universe here chez Bond.  One book we use often, when sighting wildlife, is an oldie, but a goodie titled Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson.  I am familiar enough with the book that when my husband asked me to look up what robins meant I knew I wouldn’t find it in our trusty manual.  So I turned to an online resource instead.

The first website that popped up was this one:

http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism-robin.html

It turned out to be an uplifting website with insightful information. (I totally earmarked it for later.)  Just that morning, as the snow had started to fall, I sat down to do my morning journaling and contemplation.  The first thing I wrote was:

I awaken feeling like I have more clarity than I’ve had in a long time.

The website I found had a quick list for the meaning of robin:

  • Joy
  • Hope
  • Clarity
  • Renewal
  • Pleasure
  • Simplicity
  • Happiness
  • Satisfaction
  • Rejuvenation
  • Contentment
  • Bright future
  • New beginning

“We’ll take that!” My husband enthusiastically replied after I read the list and the subsequent description.  I agreed wholeheartedly.

I love to look at my life as if I were interpreting a dream.  The source of the meaning (a website or a book) is not as important as how that information resonates with me.

Today, the robins were magical.  A manifestation of God’s love – reminding me that no matter how things look, everything is exactly as it should be – just like dozens of red breasted robins in a snow storm.

bare branch cathedral
decked in glinted ice bunting
moving through hushed grace
(2.6.2014)

Hushed grace.

I am particularly fond of this phrase because currently my life feels nothing like the words, “moving through hushed grace.”

At the moment, my life feels like the phrase “tensing with the pain” – mostly because my back has been radically spasming for the last week and a half.  I can’t think my way around the pain- in more ways than one.  I am losing my ability to think about anything but the pain at this point.  Also, I can’t figure out what to do about it.  Should I lie in bed all day?  Should I move through the pain and go for walks, do house work and the like?  Should I bend and stretch, inviting the pain in, then breathe into it?

The pain is so powerful.  And yet, when I can breathe into that muscle spasm, the release and resulting absence of pain is intoxicating.

Hushed grace. A quiet beyond the reach of the incessant garbled babble of the mind and the screaming demands of the pain.

It was the morning after a 10-inch snow had blanketed our region again.  The branches overhead, on my pastoral drive to the neighboring town of Ipswich, inspired a sense of reverence in me.  I pondered the words the keynote speaker had said at a recent seminar I’d attended.

He had been talking about the lows we experience in life.  How we shouldn’t be ashamed of them, or wish them away – that indeed, it was the lows that gave us the velocity to move upward again.  His words were welcomed into my heart. How often I have berated myself for getting down.  How hard I’ve worked to keep my spirits up during this present time of unemployment that appears to be stretching longer now than any other I’ve experienced.

He spoke of the cycle of the seasons.  Consider winter.  Would anyone tell the year it had failed?

A brilliant analogy that continues to make me smile.

Maybe moving through hushed grace is sitting down, despite the inner and outer pain, and focusing on writing.

Maybe moving through hushed grace is accepting the movement part of it – for nothing is static and all life is changing.  This moment pain, the next, grace.

Maybe moving through hushed grace is simply about recognizing the divine in every moment – driving through snow-covered trees or puzzling out a current pain.

What is your hushed grace?