May we all find pause
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It had been a bit of a weekend already with a lot of adolescent issues — nothing too major, just the frequency — and I was feeling a bit on the cranky side. I went for a drive, which I do on occasion when Mr. Sundberg is away for a spell and I have little in my reserves as far as patience goes.
I had the show on as I drove around town and then down around the lake, and I ended up in what might seem an unlikely place, though I must say I visit there occasionally when I’m feeling frazzled and worn down and the serenity there brings a kind of balance back. It was the cemetery, back behind the grocery store and past a neighborhood of quiet yards, near the power plant and a forested area that goes on for I don’t know how long.
I didn’t stay there long; I rarely do. I went to the back corner, to what I think of as a small grotto, a garden, with a wall memorializing the lives of children who have passed on. There are over 30 children buried there, sweet names, single dates, and lives spanning a few short years, some days, some hours. It’s quiet, and you can hear water running somewhere nearby, and the wind in what I believe are cypress trees makes a hushing sound. There’s a bench I sit on, and rest there, and think about my kids and how fortunate I am that I have them, and that they are healthy and reasonably happy, and really quite wonderful. I think about the lives they have had up until now, and the roads ahead full up with opportunity and rough patches and joy, and I think about how they smell and how they call me “Mom” and how it feels to be asked for help with homework.
Saturday, as I sat there, the car window open and a sweet song playing on the radio, something magical happened. As twilight came upon the place, there appeared a number of glowing flowers and lit butterflies colored pink and blue and green. Solar-powered decorations on the childrens’ graves. I laughed a bit at what seemed cartoonish in such a place, and then I stopped laughing. Those butterflies and birds glowed like gifts for the night, sparkling night lights put there by family, by friends. By mothers. I didn’t feel sad, then. I felt back to myself. Perspective, you might call it. Of course it makes sense, in the Children’s Corner, to decorate with color and light.
May we all find pause, find perspective, wherever it may be. And may the children, all of them, thrive, crabby as they make us some days.
Here’s one I’ve not made ’til this year. One a penny, two a penny? Sure, back in medieval times. They’re a bit pricier now, so my thought is make your own and they’ll taste even better. And you’ll feel good about yourself in the process. Really.
Hot Cross Buns
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 T yeast
2 tsp. coarse salt or 1 tsp. table salt
2 T. light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
11/4 c. milk, warmed to lukewarm
2 eggs, beaten
2 T unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. milk
Splash of vanilla
In a large bowl, combine 31/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, sugar, spices and orange zest. Whisk.
With a wooden spoon, slowly add the warm milk until absorbed, then add the eggs and mix well. Add the butter, mixing thoroughly; stir in currants until well-distributed. If the dough seems sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours. Or let dough rise overnight in the fridge, but no longer than 12 hours.
Prepare two baking sheets by lightly coating with baking spray or shortening, or covering with parchment. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a cylinder 18 inches long. Cut into 18 slices, 1 inch wide. Shape dough into a ball. Using one finger to support the dough, pull the edges around and under, repeating until you have a round shape. For an even smoother ball, roll the dough with your palm on an unfloured surface. Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 9 buns on each sheet.
Preheat oven to 425 and place rack in middle position. Cover buns with flour sack towels and place in a warm area until doubled in size, about half an hour. Slice a deep “X” in each bun.
Bake each sheet of buns for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Cool.
Mix together powdered sugar and milk for glaze. Pour into a plastic bag, snip open a corner and drizzle a cross on each bun, following the lines of the cuts.
Makes 18 buns. Mmm.