This Moment

I’m grateful for this moment this morning…
…and this moment. Simply to wake up alive, step outside, and see these lovely flowers blooming through their deer-proofing cages.

I’m grateful for this moment, this evening, stepping outside onto the deck to witness the aspens gloried up on Mendicant Ridge with cumulus clouds above and a light shower farther east, with junipers under my protection in the foreground. I’m grateful for Living Inside the Kaleidoscope.

I’m grateful for this moment, having stuffed two Sirenevyi sweet peppers with leftover mushroom stuffing from the other night, grateful for parchment paper which makes life easier and cleanup quicker, grateful for the source of the paper, for the growth of the peppers, the water to grow them, the time to attend to them… grateful for the nourishment of a simple vegetarian meal.

Community

I am so grateful today not only for this rainbow, but for living in a community where it was widely celebrated. I was looking on Facebook for something else, and as we do, got sucked into scrolling through the home page, and there was shot after shot of this gorgeous double rainbow, from every possible perspective. I love my friends who celebrate the beautiful skies where we live, who care about the world we live in, who made the choice to take time during their evening to step outside and photograph a rainbow.

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.”

~ William James
the rest of the story: the sky opposite the rainbow.

Stuffing

I’ve not been a fan of stuffing in turkeys, or outside of turkeys, at holidays; nor have I stuffed a lot of things. But I have been stuffing the occasional mushroom since the Colonel first introduced me to the idea of popping a little blob of bleu cheese and a dab of butter into a button mushroom and broiling it for a few minutes. What a great appetizer! So simple, so delicious. And in recent years I’ve been grateful for stuffing larger mushrooms, usually portobellos. When I was searching stuffed pepper recipes a few weeks ago I ran across one which used riced cauliflower instead of regular rice. I couldn’t find it again when I went to stuff these gorgeous portobellos for lunch today. But I riced some cauliflower, sautéed some kale, grated some Mexican cheese, chopped a Chimayo pepper, a Sirenevyi sweet pepper, and the first ripe tiny Tabasco pepper, and the last fennel bulb, and mixed them all together with one beaten egg. Oh, and some spices. I scooped some of the flesh from the center of each mushroom and stuck it in the freezer for stock later, then plunked the stuffing into the mushrooms, topped with grated mozzarella, and roasted them at 400℉ for fifteen minutes. To serve, I topped them with a roasted tomato and some crumbled bacon (the fat of which I’d used to sauté the kale). Not so simple, but not so hard either, and so delicious.

I roasted a bunch of ripe and extra-ripe tomatoes this morning, and when they cooled slipped them into a freezer bag. There are so many green tomatoes left on the vine, and I worry they won’t ripen before the first freeze. Already I’m bringing in Biko, as when the weather forecast says 46 it’s been 38 overnight, and the past two nights it’s predicted 42. Can’t take the risk of freezing the tortoise. He can stay out to about 40 degrees but can’t handle much time at anything much lower. And I wonder about the green tomatoes and peppers, whether with these abruptly cold nights they have just stopped ripening. We’ll know more later. Anyway, I’m grateful for stuffing. This one was low-cal and fulfilling.

And in other news… A friend’s sister and her family lost everything in two homes in Ft. Myers in Florida during Hurricane Ian. Storm surge to the ceilings. As climate chaos continues to fuel more destructive storms, fires, heat waves, etc., all of us will be touched from three or two degrees of separation to no separation at all. Sherry visited here a few years ago, a lovely woman and a fine artist. Her life’s work, not to mention her husband’s shop and her daughter’s home also, gone. We so often feel helpless when tragedy strikes. This feels like a good way to contribute my little bit to the herculean recovery efforts underway in Florida and the US southeast coast, donating directly to a family and knowing they will get every penny. If you feel so moved, please join me, and share this link:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-rohl-family?utm_campaign=m_pd+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer

Young Bucks

I was grateful this morning to greet this young fork-antlered fellow, and a spike as well, when I stepped out the door with Wren. I was grateful throughout the day for the opportunity to spend more time with my visiting friend, and grateful for the generosity of a neighbor who offered her studio for him to sleep in since he’s allergic to cats. I’m grateful that the stormy weather broke so that we could eat outside and walk, and enjoy a hot tub at his impromptu B&B. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to relax a bit more each day with him: this level of company, of connection, of face-to-face conversation, was a bit anxious for me at first, having become so accustomed to solitude and silence.

Chicken Soup

I’m grateful on this cold rainy day for the ingredients and ability to make chicken soup; for the stove and fuel to heat the burner and for the pot; for the fragrance wafting through the house; and for a friend to share the soup with.

Black Canyon

Little Wren was cold and uncertain this evening at the rim of the Black Canyon. We joined a few friends for cocktails at the canyon, each bringing our own beverages and some kind of snack to share. Black Canyon is one of the more dog-friendly national parks, and three of us brought our dogs to the overlook along with our picnics. After a couple of hours of warmer sunshine late afternoon, clouds rolled in again and the temperature dropped just about the time we arrived. As we gathered, we observed a massive wedge-shaped cloud over the south rim, which gradually moved closer. We are hardy souls and typically brave the elements when we’re enjoying where we are, but I called an abrupt end to the gathering when I watched one woman’s hair slowly rise until it was standing on end. Synapses fired in me that went something like this: static electricity>⚡️> leave now! I’m grateful for the time spent with friends, for the amazing Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, just a beautiful half-hour drive from home, and for coming home again.

Company

I’m so grateful today for heartwarming company, companionship, my old friend Sean come to visit for a few days. With his blue parka and his regional whiskey and his compatible heart. A friend like this doesn’t come around every day, especially not during a pandemic. I cooked an awful dinner and we laughed about it. Grateful for another opportunity tomorrow.

Equanimity

The first Tabasco pepper ripens. I’m optimistic that most of the remaining peppers will ripen before the first frost, but it’s getting dicey.

It’s a bit challenging to be grateful that my friends and family seem to have escaped the worst of Hurricane Ian, though the fate of my brother’s house in Naples remains to be determined, and Charleston cousins await the second landfall. Of course I’m grateful for the safety of my beloveds, but this catastrophe really hammers home our interconnectedness on this planet: the destruction of so much habitat, humans’ and other species alike, affects us all. As I experience relief, many thousands of others grieve their losses; and many non-human sentient beings have lost their lives or homes as well. This is a spiritual conundrum that requires strength, courage, and equanimity to be able to hold awareness of both the horrors and losses, as well as gratitude for the joys and blessings, of life in the Anthropocene.

In this peaceable kingdom, in this peaceful moment, all is well in this moment.
Both ends of a rainbow that disappeared in dense clouds above…
…with aspens on Mendicant Ridge all gloried up.

Helpers

I’m grateful for helpers of all kinds. Grateful for friends who bring me groceries, for bodyworkers who work my bones and muscles toward healing, and the bodies of friends, and all the healers who work all the bodies and souls toward healing. Grateful for the road builders and flag people and pilot car drivers who keep the roads in shape, and for all people who work hard or tedious but necessary jobs to keep the transportation arteries of the world healthy and flowing.

I’m grateful for weather forecasters and reporters, whether or not they get it just right but especially when they do; grateful for the men and women who step out into hurricanes to bring us updates, and especially for those across Florida across channels all day today. Grateful for the technology that allows anchors in the studio to talk onscreen with reporters standing in the eye of the storm, and then beams their stories into my living room. Grateful for the relative security and comfort I’ve enjoyed today compared to the terror and uncertainty so many experience worldwide, especially in catastrophic weather events like Hurricane Ian. Grateful that as far as I know so far, my friends and family have fared okay through the day, and hoping they make it through the night.

Feeling intense compassion for the suffering of all those people who didn’t make it out, didn’t survive, or will find tomorrow that they lost homes or loved ones; and for the dolphins breaking surface behind one of the reporters on the beach, and all the creatures that were sucked out of bays on the north side of the eye and those smashed onto land with storm surge; and for the land mammals, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians who lost their homes or their lives in this storm and will in days to come to the floods it fuels. Feeling intense compassion for a planet pushed to the breaking point: as a dog tormented will finally turn and bite, so our earth displays her natural reaction to the torture we’ve visited upon her as our human population and its incessant demands escalate. It’s certainly not her fault.

I’m grateful for my capacity to feel empathy and compassion for those who are suffering, and to feel gratitude for the helpers of all kinds; those simply doing their quotidian jobs on a calm fall day, and those rising to remarkable occasions, as so many will tomorrow across the Florida peninsula cleaning up debris that was once treasure, restoring power, rescuing people and animals from untenable situations, feeding the foodless, repairing homes and habitats. On and on it goes.

Bacon

My guilty pleasure. I can’t think about where it comes from. Though I do buy local ‘happy pig’ bacon when possible, and otherwise the most ethical available. Which isn’t very. This is why it’s a guilt trip for me; and an indulgence.

When I want bacon I manage to automagically separate the food from its origin as a sentient being. My mind disassociates. Today I’m grateful for the first batch of homegrown jalapeño poppers. So simple, so delicious.