Walking the river just now means sinking to my calves in cold sweet mud, every step releasing the earthy aroma of clay. It’s blue-grey and slippery, the primal beauty that so many hundreds, thousands of ancient pots and vessels were made of right here in the cnayon. We have some of the remnants, broken jugs and a thousand potsherds, both painted and plain, all still imbued with the spirit of this place. Whenever I step into the slick puddles of wet clay each flood brings up I remember the ancient ones, the women shaping their lives with able hands, strong fingers finding the natural shape of each bit of earth and water.
This recent flood was unexpected, the storm moving in quickly and pounding the canyon for 24 hours solid with hail, pouring rain and whirling winds. The river came up so fast that the banks were cut to a sheer edge in many places, resulting in heartbreaking erosion. The upside is that we’ll have to worry much less now about winter fires and the cold season greens such as the wild mustard have a head start.
The Asters are still holding on to their color, remaining an insistent shade of brilliant purple even after several frosts. They look almost alien next to all the brown, crumpled stalks of the other plants — a striking reminder of the vitality of the growing season. And of the life that lurks underground, just waiting for warmth, rain and the opportunity to bloom.
A few days ago we were lucking enough to have the chance to purchase about fifteen pounds of fresh sweet peppers from a local organic farm, in all shades of green, red, gold and purple. Oooh, the yumminess! We’ve been indulging in roasted peppers stuffed with sausage, toasted millet, nettles, broccoli, goat cheese and peach chutney, then topped with olives. It’s so good that we’ve been eating them at nearly every meal, soaking in the last blessed morsels of summer. I’ve been enjoying more time in the kitchen this last week and have been doing most of the pepper stuffing myself for a nice change.
I concocted a new invention for Loba’s birthday, which I have happily named Faery Cakes. Made of freshly ground hazelnut meal, acorn meal, oats, spices, butter, rosemary honey and other enchanted ingredients, I also whipped up a kahluah/coffee/cream topping for it, and we sat on the tile hearth sipping dandyblend and taking tiny, delicious bites of Faery Cake. It was a very nice bit of October heaven indeed!
In last night’s full moon light, I spent a few minutes last night perched on a rock far above the river, playing my flute to the tune of the water and wind. Or perhaps I should more accurately say that the water and wind played me, as all the best music flows through us humans as living, responsive channels of raw, wild emotion and sensation.
It’s all these small, sweet moments of being barefoot in the mud, preparing food and music that make my life so incredibly magical. That make the normal of every day something deep, memorable and amazing. These, more than recipes or cures or theories, are what I hope to impart to you, my readers. These snips of color and light and earth and shadows to illuminate, challenge, delight and comfort… to inspire you to walk into the night, let the world indulge your senses.