Something to Count On

Archived | February 21, 2014 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was reclined in the tub for most of the show, with pomegranate scented bubbles piled high on top of me and a hand towel rolled up under my neck and a glass of reasonably priced white wine next to me, and a lit candle too. Blackberry scented. The radio was on the counter, turned up just enough to drown out the house sounds and the wind and the movie the kids were watching (something about zombies and the end of the world).
It was as decadent as I could get on a Saturday evening, and I was doing my best to channel Spring. Berry scents, and light. And warmth. I hesitate here, the temptation being to go off on a rant about how much shoveling I did that day, and since. Amazing numbers of hours heaving snow up into piles over my head. I spent much of last evening up to my hips in snow, shaking snow and ice from tree branches in the year to save them from splitting and falling to the earth. They were touching the ground, those birch branches, bowing to the power of Mother Nature at her icy best, and I had to do something. It felt like forgiveness, shaking them as I did, thinking “Rise up, go back to where you were, live!” and it felt silly, too, as snow spilled down my jacket and shirt and filled my boots while the kids watched from the window (cheering, I like to think, but probably laughing at their mother trying to save the treescape from the unrelenting snow).
The temptation is to rail against this weather, to complain about how my back aches and how I pulled something (hamstring? butt muscle?) when I slipped while shoveling, to consider seriously a move to a warmer place where the elements are gentle in their ways and the breeze blows warm every day of the year. Tempting to use the “F” word, holler it out to a sky a color somewhere between steel and salt. Tempting to invent my own expletives, meting them out in threads of glorious curses. Yeah, tempting.
Not going to though. Because I’m not only a “cup is half full” kind of gal, but I’m grateful that there’s water in the cup (it could be gasoline, or pee, or empty). I was raised to look at the bright side, to see the stars through prison bars, and ignore the mud. It’s in my blood and in my bones: I can do this. And to remember that, in the burning heat of August, I will miss this day, and all the snow out there, and the whistling wind, and the rattle of iced branches on the kitchen window, and how it feels to stand there and be finished, again, clearing the snow away.
I know spring is coming; I smelled it last week. And summer shortly after, and then autumn, and back here to winter again, where we’ll marvel at how fast it all happened. A dear friend told me recently that it’s not the seasons she loves so much, it’s that they turn. She’s got a point. Something to count on. Beginnings disguised as endings. No, I’m not complaining. Just sayin’ how good that green grass will feel under my feet, how sweet the air, how blue the sky.
For now, I’ll find Spring in the bathtub. Outside? It’s all white and crunchy and cold, but it’s sparkling. Only few more hours shoveling if we’re going to get where we’re going today, over here on the bright side. And we will.
Not a lot of time for cooking some winter days, and a big thank you to whomever came up with the crockpot. This recipe takes only a few minutes to throw together, and a few hours to cook, and if you close your eyes while you’re eating, you’ll taste summer. And it’ll taste dang good.
Crockpot Barbecue Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts
1 bottle (18 oz) barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is the way to go)
¼ cup vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
Combine everything but chicken.
Place chicken in crockpot (frozen is ok).
Pour sauce mixture over chicken and cook on low 4-6 hours.
Serve with sweet potato fries or cheesy potatoes.