Monday, April 30, 2012

With My Head in the Clouds

These are quiet, clouded-in, creative days interrupted only by driving down the mountain to take someone to church, to go to the library, to get something at the store. Today I am taking my son to a class, otherwise, we would stay here. The house is in a cloud. One kid is reading, another has been watching endless video demonstrations of science experiments. Now the video is off and he is building an electrical circuit with batteries and wires and light bulbs.

Hello sparrow, help yourself.

 These days offer the kind of solace that makes me want to create, to learn. I’ve been fascinated by birds lately. I picked up a nature guide from the newly remodeled Malibu Library last week and I have been pouring through it, trying to find our little feathered friends. So far I have identified a cute little house finch pair and a flock of California quail, several red-tailed hawks, as well as sparrows and blue jays. I suppose it is a simple interest, not one that will solve humanity’s problems, but it just makes me happy to see them and know what they are. They are beautiful.

I’ve also been learning about gardening. I joined a CSA co-op, so I have been getting fresh organic fruit and vegetables delivered to the door every other Friday morning. I’m not sure it is the best “deal” in the world, but I get some kind of simple pleasure out of discovering what is in the box and finding new recipes for new foods. I’ve discovered chard and leeks and rekindled my love of lentils and quinoa. Those don’t come in the box; they just seem to go so well with farm-fresh vegetables. I read an inspiring excerpt from Scott Jurek’s upcoming biography about his career in long-distance trail running and becoming a vegan. It was interesting, maybe even compelling, but I love cream in my coffee, butter on my toast, salmon of all kinds and an occasional sushi splurge. I think I could give up most other meats, although I might have to make an exception for my brother’s carnivorous food truck delights. His dry-aged burgers from The Flatiron Truck are about the best thing beef can ever hope to be.

The brave little tomato plant.
I also decided to be brave and try gardening again. I reclaimed part of the yard and pulled grass out of one small terraced section. I tilled the ground, added a little compost and planted some green pepper seeds. I don’t have much faith that little green spouts will actually rise from the earth. But I am going to at least give it a try. So far the tomato plant I bought the same day has been flourishing, so maybe the container garden will at least be successful. I’m hoping that the deer won’t venture up the back porch to the container garden area anyhow. If they do, I hope I am there with a camera.

I have also been making bread, not with a mix or a bread maker, but from flour and water and yeast – all kneaded out on the kitchen counter. It started out as a “school” project with my 9-year-old son. But it was fun and rewarding and somehow cheaper than buying good bread in the store; so it has become my latest quest to create better bread. So far I have worked with what I have on hand, whole wheat and white flour, but yesterday I bought rye flour at the store and I plan to make a good rye bread later today.

Now that I am recovered from the marathon I have been running up a private road behind our house. It’s an 800 foot incline through a private neighborhood that ascends to the very top of the mountain where there is a spectacularly rewarding 360 degree view of Point Dume to the north, the port of LA to the south, the entire Valley to the east and of course, Catalina Island and the ocean to the west. The view still amazes me. Even after dozens of treks to the top, I still feel amazed and privileged to be there and have gotten their by my own feet from my front door. I like the feeling of running for the pure pleasure of it. Training for a race has it’s purpose, but for now I am just enjoying running for running. Maybe that is the theme of this season, learning for learning sake, running for running, appreciating the gift of being present.

Not planted or planned, these iris beauties established themselves behind the trash cans. Just because ...

1 comment:

  1. So was the apple core in the yard part of the experiment that we discussed?