December marks time like no other month.
Tomorrow the winter solstice brings us the shortest day of the year followed by the longest night ... and days later, the end of one year and the beginning of another.
I’m thinking about how I can add light to my days and mark new beginnings. Not just new beginnings on the calendar, or the light from longer days, but the light and change that comes from doing things differently, seeing things in new light, and being curious.
Last week we had a snow storm ... a big one. Most of us got anywhere from 18 - 24 inches. And as it so often happens, the next day it was glorious. Sunny and bright and fresh.
After the storm, we took a ride ... uptown to State Street, left at Longfellow Square ... and there it was. A rainbow. Shimmering in the windblown snow hanging in the air.
This week's calendar ...
Thursday is Egg Nog Day. Are you a fan?
You'll also see that today is Poet Laureate Day. Because the statue in the rainbow photograph is poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I want to share a post I did a while ago on blackout poetry.
Follow this link to read more about Longfellow and blackout poetry, and give it a try. Use it to create a poem. Stick it to the refrigerator or mail it to someone. It may add new light to your day.
After all, you could be a poet and don't even know it.
Even if you don't want to try the exercise, click through to read Longfellow's poem, Holidays anyway. It's fitting for this holiday season ... one that is so very different from so many others. Read it and let me know what you think.
And if you create a poem, share it with me. I'd love to read it.
p.s. There's also a link in the post to Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. You can read the poem and find out why it's one of my favorites.
At the end of the block on the corner there's a garden planted on the edge of the road. It's tucked between the street and a stockade fence. It's so small, and jammed into such a small space, it seems more than a garden. It's a declaration. A fertile sign of determination and grit.
Someone wanted a garden and they were not to be deterred.
They wanted to grow peas, and tomatoes, and peppers. We know that's what's growing because they impaled the empty seed packets on sticks to mark what was in the ground. And we've watch them grow for weeks now.
There's a tradition in New England ... peas and salmon on the Fourth of July. Why? The salmon swim upstream this time of year, just when the peas begin to sprout.
I'm not sure the neighbors will pair salmon with their peas, but the garden's bounty is proof there's plenty to be savored when the seed of determination is planted.
Crumb, cobbler, or crisp?
What's the difference? A fruit crumb is a lot like a crisp with a streudel-like topping, but a crisp has oats in the mix. Cobblers have a dough that bakes on top of the fruit.
They're all good, but I must say, crisp is my go-to preference. It's easy, requires only a few ingredients, it's really good, and you can go from recipe to plate in an hour or less.
4-6 cups fresh fruit
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut up
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
Preheat over to 350°F
Arrange fruit (sliced peaches, nectarines, apples) on the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking dish (or a pie plate, or loaf pan will do).
Using a fork or your hands, combine the sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt. Add rolled oats.
Sprinkle mixture over the top of the fruit.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, the edges are browned, and crumb topping is golden brown.
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt, or whipped cream. Or eat it straight up. Oh, and it's really good warm.
*You can also use blueberries or a combination of fruits like blueberries and peaches, apples and cranberries (a good autumn combo).
Let me know if you make it or have a different recipe to share.
Spring is just days away, but it will be weeks before some areas of the country see any flowers in bloom.
Are you yearning for some color? Some sign that spring is coming?
Buy yourself some flowers
It may seem indulgent to buy flowers for yourself, and it is. But buy them anyway. Flowers are popular for a reason. They make us feel good. They lighten the mood and remind us how incredible nature is.
Go for the daffodils
Have you seen the daffodil bundles? They make their first appearance each spring at the grocery store. Small bundles of dry daffodil stalks with closed buds. Cut before they blossom, the daffodils are dormant until cut and put in water. I buy them every year just to watch the show.
If you can’t find daffodils, try something else ... maybe a potted plant that’s flowering.
Do you make it a habit to buy flowers for yourself? Tell us about it. Why do you do it and how does it make you feel?