I’ve noticed in the last few days that it is no longer dark when I go out at five o’clock to feed dinner to the horses and close their stall doors. It’s a first hint that we’re heading towards Spring. The temperature has also been teasing us into believing that we are getting closer. The pasture was like a skating rink for quite a while, as the snow melted and the water froze to ice each night. Siete got stuck out there on Saturday, and my husband had to go rescue her. She slipped a few times until they were able to get outside the gate to the dirt and grass. As soon as she realized that she was on solid ground, the crazy little horse started jumping with all four feet off the ground at the same time, like an equine pogostick.
Now that we are having one day without ice, I have to lead Silk out because she’s decided that she doesn’t like to get her feet muddy. She’s such a lady. The weather forecast calls for some snow and icy rain tomorrow, so this is only a brief respite, but I’m glad to have it. There are some small pleasures that I’ve discovered here in the heart of winter. I found a little jasmine plant and some primroses at Trader Joe’s, and they are cheering up my kitchen. When I come downstairs in the morning, the house smells of jasmine. Some sweet red strawberries from California are also a treat at this time of year.
Yesterday, I got a wonderful surprise. My friends, Jeanne Betancourt and Manuela Soares, sent me a copy of their gorgeous new cookbook, “Farm Stand Fresh”. It has beautiful illustrations by Jeanne, and healthy, enticing recipes and notes from Manuela. While it whetted my appetite for summer and local produce, I know I can figure out a way to practice on a few of these dishes now to help avoid that January/February slump. A little asparagus and a bowl of strawberries can go a long way to keeping me happy.
“My teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, uses an image I like: "happiness for no reason." When I think of that I think of being at home in one's body and mind, in life as it is. That feeling of belonging is quieter than a lot of the flash we try to experience, but it is ours, not someone else's to give us or to take away. It is steadfast and supportive, unbroken when conditions change. It can flourish in the face of obstacles, it can be there for us when everything else seems to fail, and it reminds us that each moment of life, delightful or painful, is precious.”