“Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.” ~ Pema Chodron
Hello, good-looking friends. How are you holding up?
Hard to believe it’s already June. It’s certainly been a trying three months! Time to anticipate summer with a little strawberry love. 🙂
As we hunker down in our private spaces, our strength, resilience, faith and patience are being tested as never before. Each day brings a new concern as we reassess our priorities and consider an uncertain future.
Rather than perpetually bemoan forced confinement, we can mindfully pause to carefully consider, with humility and gratitude, the time we are actually being given and the challenge to use it wisely.
I’m here to tell you there is good news: Today, it’s your turn. Wherever you are standing right now, I give this to you:
WHAT IS GIVEN
by Ralph Murre
The likelihood of finding strawberries
tiny and wild and sweet
around your ankles
on any given day
in any given place
is not great
people find strawberries
right where they are standing
just because it is their turn
to be given a taste
of something wild and sweet
These days I’m especially grateful for poems that provide sweet respite. Tamara Madison revels in more innocent, carefree times. I’m happy to join her, if only for a precious few moments.
by Tamara Madison
Fragole, fresas, klubniki, fraises —
is there a term that names them better
than strawberry? I think of sunshine
and straw hats, picnics, boating parties,
a barber shop quartet, home-made
ice cream, grainy and sweet, everything
warm, wholesome, innocent, old fashioned.
Near my house there’s a strawberry field
that begins its work in spring, the stray seeds
emerging unbidden in neighboring gardens,
on walkways, from cracks in the sidewalk,
the clean white petals yielding pale-green
hearts that swell, redden, and fill
with so much happiness to give in their sweet-tart
flesh, their fertile seeds that linger in your teeth
and remind you of a gentle time only moments
ago when you tasted the essence of summer
on your joyful tongue.
Strawberries pretty much steal the show, whether artfully arranged in a tart, perched atop a cloud of whipped cream, or seductively dipped in dark chocolate. They’re beautiful all by themselves, too, their deep red color and heart shape a symbol of Venus, Goddess of Love.
Madison is right; there’s also something innocent and old- fashioned about strawberries. Simpler times, happy memories — like when I had the most delicious bowl of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, or when I baked a scrumptious strawberry pie from Len’s homegrown fruit, or when my mom made shortcake using Bisquick and a jar of Avoset.
After reading Lois Lenski’s Strawberry Girl, I wanted to move to Florida and grow strawberries with Birdie Boyer and her family. How I loved that book! Much later, I was thrilled to learn Shakespeare had decorated Desdemona’s handkerchief with symbolic strawberries. 🙂
Speaking of shortcake, now’s as good a time as any to serve you some. Did you know that we might have the Native Americans to thank for it? Supposedly, they were already eating wild strawberries when the colonists first arrived. They used to mix crushed berries with cornmeal to bake into strawberry bread. After trying this bread, the colonists came up with their own recipe, creating strawberry shortcake.
Well, that’s one origin story, anyway. It’s also been noted that the first strawberry shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook (1588). Oh yes, for something so totally delectable, the British were probably responsible. 🙂
This time, we decided to try a gluten free shortcake, using a biscuit recipe that calls for King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix. To the basic biscuit recipe, we added two tablespoons of sugar and two teaspoons of vanilla. Quick, easy, and delicious! You can find the recipe at the KAF website (scroll down to read the tips on how to bake a sweeter biscuit for shortcake).
Now, it’s your turn again to help yourself. Enjoy!
Wishing you a strawberry-filled June with many wild and sweet moments.
Do you have a favorite strawberry memory?
“My perfect last meal would be: shrimp cocktail, lasagna, steak, creamed spinach, salad with bleu cheese dressing, onion rings, garlic bread, and a dessert of strawberry shortcake.” ~ Joan Rivers
The beautiful and gifted Irene Latham is hosting the Roundup at Live Your Poem. She’s hosting a special celebration in honor of poet Nikki Grimes. Enjoy all the poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week and have a nice weekend.
Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.