Monday, April 25, 2011

Memories of Red Junipers and Sweetgums

To say that life abounded there, in the brilliant sun-streaked sloping yard at my aunt's house, is no doubt missing the mark altogether. I suppose it is true in some sense, but it isn't at all what I wish to say. What I mean to say is that...well, life ran rampant. In electrified currents it sizzled and burst at the ends like a Red Juniper's blue berry cones in between a child's hands. 

The sky, unassuming and faithfully glorious was sprawled out between the tips and fans of leaves, creating endless pattern games upon the sky and darker games below, shading oases of sweet grass among the bark. 

The Sweetgums towered above the rooftops shading the green soft grass and brown flat winged fruit. Tender spikes scraped beneath our feet along the needles and green leaf blades, but mostly was made soft along the gum-studded earth. 

I remember their bark and the scent of the woods surrounding.  The lobed and star-shaped leaves fell upon our faces or tore to the ground amidst some battles we fought.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beautiful Hands

My fingers absolutely burn with an invisible fire. I'm so thankful for that petite, newly potted Aloe Vera plant on my front porch, to whom I may at any time run for quick relief. But mostly, I smile on my faithful, pain-stricken, scarred hands with appreciation because I think their weariness defines me in a way I can't despise.  There is something incredibly beautiful about a pair of hands that have proven their usefulness. I can't help but believe that their experience illuminates their beauty. How sad a pair of hands must be which do nothing! From squeezing citrus for lemonades and marinades, to zesting blocks of parmesan and fruit, to baking clumsily in a 400 degree oven, to chopping and seeding jalepnos and serranos, my hands wear the marks to prove their hard work. And I think it's beautiful. I am so thankful for every opportunity to use my hands in the joy of cooking. God is so good for giving me this art, this ambition, and for having useful hands to work with every day. It may sound simple, but how loving is God to give us hands? He must love us so very much.

 I can tell that my stomach is still quite full from last night's Mexican feast: Guacamole (this time with truly fresh avocados from Mexico, minced garlic, and ripe compari tomatoes), Salsa which may be my best batch ever, pica de gallo made with two serrano peppers, and Micah's incredible marinaded chicken fajitas. Not to mention Micheladas.

I have lined up the youngest sprouts of my herb garden on my kitchen window sill. I had a feeling that sprouts particularly enjoy a kitchen window view, a preference of my own as well. There we have Chives, Cilantro, Sweet Basil, and Thyme. Oh, and not to mention the accidental pot in which I erroneously mixed Basil seeds with Thyme. :/ But they are all growing marvelously. Last night, I stopped cooking long enough to urge Cilantro on as his little leaves arched toward the sky, in the hope that someday I will not have to buy Cilantro from the market.