Indulged with electricity, we might forget just how precious light once was. We are able to make our days as long or short as we please. There were, however, eons in which the only possible light after the sun had traveled on was greedy, dangerous fire. We were left in seemingly endless amounts of dark time in those cold months when the sun appears for a mere nine hours in twenty-four. It is no wonder that so many people celebrate both the sun’s initial brightening and the peak of its sway.
Earlier cultures marked such celebrations with grand hilltop bonfires; with exuberant displays of early flowers placed in doorways and windows, and occasionally even bedecking cows and their milking equipment. The Maypole with its colorful streamers and spirited dancing is a pagan remnant glorifying summer’s fertility. As for Aesop’s dreary moralistic tale, well maybe a few cheerful grasshoppers are great company while they sing for their supper. Perhaps the best message to take from that fable is one of balancing the contributions of ants and grasshoppers among us, renewing our own spirits while Mother Earth renews hers
The spring makes promises that summer delivers. The scent of fresh basil at our last market was a pledge of tomatoes soon to follow. There are mounded rows of strawberry plants preening under their tiny white flowers, urging the bees to do their part to produce those luscious heart-shaped fruit. Leeks and asparagus are reaching for the sky and may be apprehended at the market. All the earth’s things transforming themselves.
We’re busy transforming a few things ourselves. We debate nightly as to whether it is safe to put out our tender seedlings yet. The ants are busy opening the peonies. The cats are stalking chipmunks in the stonewalls. The hillside is a flight training arena for newly fledged birds. We’ve cleaned and oiled the grill for the season; restocked the pond; divvied up the garden according to the distribution of sun and the hoped for height of plants. We’re ready.
What about a little rebirth at the table and in the kitchen? New uses for ancient devices. How about getting a few of those veggies into our breakfast? There’s an interesting idea that’s floating around these days that employs muffin tins to break our overnight fast. The recipe today is for Muffin Frittatas. A great way to shake awake the morning sluggards.