Made some honey muffins Saturday and they were not bad. After that blizzard a week ago, I’m feeling an odd joy marveling at how fast the snow is melting. Normally I love all things winter, and I still do, but I can’t think of much that’s fun if you don’t get a break from it. That’s the glory, isn’t it? That the best things don’t go on and on without end; they come and go, and it’s the having been away, the return, the reunion that brings on the goosebumps and the excitement and the thrill.
I’m not good with constants, yet I’m not a huge fan of surprises. If I had to choose between the fields of random abstraction and concrete sequence, you’d find me perched on the fence dividing the two. It’s all about the mix, people. About the balance. About change and change and change. Snow and rain and sun and clouds. Pizza today, beef stroganoff tomorrow, a new recipe for tapas down the road.
Which is why we were all beside ourselves there for a while. Winter is our thing, but gosh if it goes on and on. Blizzards in April aren’t at the top of my list; I’ll take mine in February, and for as long as it takes. In April I’m thinkin’ pink tulips and lemon bars, sundresses and watering cans, ant traps and cucumber sandwiches and iced tea on the porch.
I fall asleep at night to the sound of water dripping. I leave the window open for fresh air in the night, and the sound of water falling and splashing is second only to the frogs singing down in the marsh. They started up a few evenings ago, soon after the big snow and in the middle of the melt. Out of the darkness, one then three then seventeen frogs, and soon there were hundreds, and on they sang as I fell into a deep and restful sleep.
So much ahead, people. Summer nights, and waves. Birds aloft and children playing and walks along the lake. Road trips in the sun, bare feet, pears. But for now, I am here and so are you, and we ought to clear away those oak leaves so the lilies of the valley and tulips can find their way into the light. They’re purple this year, for a change. A shade you don’t see much around here. A shade you’ll recall in coming years, in another springtime, on another day.
Here’s a light and sweet recipe for a coffee break with neighbors. Just enough to fill you up, but not enough to make you full. My favorite kind of snack.
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine egg, milk, butter and honey, and stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill muffin cups about ¾ full. Bake 15-18 minutes or so, and cool down a bit until serving.
Makes a dozen, and they freeze really well!
The View from Mrs. Sundberg’s Window
“This time called life was meant to share.” ― Walter Rinder
I’m a bit of a introvert, I must say, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like people, like being around them, like sitting on the fringe at the party or the corner of the restaurant or the bench at the barn dance and takin’ it all in. It’s been a quiet stretch of weeks here in what feels like a new polar region (not a complaint, but almost) and I got to thinkin’ the other day how much I need people, more than I’d figured. It’s been a bit of a downer of a winter, with one sad thing after another awful thing in the news, and no fire for a while since we ran out of wood, and Mr. S gone more days than not and the kids busy with their unfolding lives. A person can get to feeling sorry for herself and that’s when it’s time to stand on up and give it a shake. Seriously. You get to taking naps when the thought occurs and pretty soon those naps turn into SleepFest 2018 and it would take a mule and a couple hefty ropes to drag your sorry butt out of the knot of quilts you’ve crafted for yourself. Trust me, I know.
So I am taking it upon myself to drag my own sorry patootie not out of bed but up off my chair by the window. I’m done waiting for Spring. Done feeling a bit off. Done wishing for things I can make happen on my own if I simply get a grip. Done thinkin’, “Why shovel? The snow is just gonna melt.” Done eating peanut butter out of the jar with a teaspoon (and dipping it in chocolate chips on the way). Done not cooking because it’s just me this week and why bother. Done procrastinating. Done keeping quiet. Done falling asleep in a tub of hot lavender water and waking up at 2 a.m. from a zombie dream, wondering what century it is and are they really out there, in the backyard, waiting to eat my face? Done eating only edamame for lunch. Done aching to run through a meadow with bare feet, grabbing at wildflowers along the way and tilting my face to the warm sun. Done waiting for something that’s bound to arrive, but why not get out there and meet it halfway?
Lived half my life, dear friends, and the other half ain’t gonna live itself. Time to finish my taxes. Time to bake a loaf of bread, just for me. Time to drive on over and visit my grandbaby and see if I can get her to say “Yappadoo!” Time to clean out the hall closet and shovel the steps and wash the window above the kitchen sink. TIme to buy myself some roses, time to dance awhile in the soft moonlight. Time to sing a waltzing song and get rid of the things piling up and make some bars and visit my neighbor Patsy whom I haven’t seen in a good long while. Time to pull over at the next snow-covered field and run through it anyway, snow and all, and find that sun with my pale, wintered face.
Spring has her own challenges these past few decades, and who are we to complain? No saying we can’t carry on and do our own thing, as we see fit. She’s bound to appear. In the meantime, I plan to wash some curtains this weekend, and bake a coconut cream pie and find a fresh green to paint the bathroom and wander on down to the river. Heck, I might even take off my boots a while and feel the snow between my toes. There’s still a snow angel or two in me, and I imagine there might be one in you. Come join me. Bring some buttered popcorn. I’ll make some hot chocolate or Irish coffee, or both, and we’ll have a time. Perhaps she — Sweet Spring herself — will join us as well. Perhaps She’s been taking her own naps, waiting for us to get things going, a frolicking snow party where She can join in, even if She lingers out there on the fringe of things. Ain’t a bad place to be, out there on the edge. You can see the firelight on everyone’s faces, and with a turn of your head, there they are, up high, all those crazy glimmerin’ stars. Winkin’, I swear. As if they know things we’ve yet to learn, and they do, and learn we will. Long as we have seasons and wood fires, hot coffee and someone to call when the silence of a season leavin’ gets a bit too loud. Long as we get up. Long as we have something giving meaning to “forward.” Come what may. And yes, please. May. Come.
Here’s a salty indulgence for a Friday evening. Serve it during a movie, or a Monopoly game, or while everyone’s sitting around reading and dozing and waiting for a sane bedtime. Or opt for a few mugs of hot chocolate, a bit of crème de menthe mixed in, a Hershey’s kiss hovering at the bottom.
4T cream cheese
1 ½ cups mayo
5 green onions, chopped
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
½ cup slivered almonds
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
Serve with crackers, or your favorite deli bread