life between the pages

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Greening of the Willow

Willows Lit Up by the Sun, Shishkin
So many things come bubbling up this time of year - and for some reason we seem to want to share them all, with someone, anyone, anywhere.  As the sap rises, so does the mind, so does the blood.  We feel a warm breeze, the air is scented with freshly mown grass, we hear birds twittering on the fencepost, we see the sky blue as paint and studded with wisps of cloud; we point and say, "Look, over there. Do you see it too?"  And we are happy for no particular reason. Like Lorraine DiSabato of Hoarded Ordinaries writes, "the simple experience of awareness, communication, and connection is enough."

Suddenly we believe in the simple act of renewal and rebirth.  We are reminded that nothing is forever lost, evidence is all around proving the point.  Indeed, our senses are assaulted with proof.

We move in and out of doors, laundering and airing out linens, boxing up winter's woolens, sweeping out the cobwebs from the corners. Baskets of ripe fruit appear in the markets, our nostrils twitch at the smell of baking bread. We sink our fingers into the warm, pliant earth, crumble in a few seeds, pat the soil back in place, and wait for the soft spring rains to come. New calves stagger after their mothers grazing in the meadows; Venus glows with luminous allure in the heavens of early evening.

Use up the last of winter's baking supplies with these easy cookies. Perfect with slowly steeped green tea perfumed with honey and a small dish of frozen yogurt.

Winter Begone Bars

3/4 stick butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 c. sugars - you can mix white, brown, and confectioner's sugars if you like
1 egg
1 c whole or lo-fat milk

Cream together thoroughly in medium bowl and set aside.

1 1/4 c. whole, rolled oats
1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds or variety)
1/2 c. Ghiardelli chocolate chips
1/3 c. flaked coconut
1/3 c. whole raisins, currants, cranberries (or a mixture)

Combine dry ingredients in order in large bowl, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Add butter-sugar mixture to large bowl, stir well to mix.

Pour into greased 13x9x2-inch glass pan.  Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F until done.  Cut into 2" squares.

Variation:  For an alternative taste, reduce milk to 1/2 cup, omit chocolate chips and add 3/4 c. canned pumpkin and pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds to batter.