Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

the finish line
40 days. 40 nights.

I imagine the desert sun. A linen tunic. Rope sandals.

I remember walking along the Camino de Santiago, not too far from the finish line. Yes, I realize that a pilgrimage should probably end at an arrival at the religious destination, or whatever, but I like sport analogies. It's halftime during a play, not intermission. One gets up, goes to the bathroom, and gets a drink, right? How is that different than at a football game?! And since I hiked the last one hundred miles for my Pilgrim's Certificate, I saw the church as the finish line!

the camino
For most of the hike, I wandered through evergreened forests, along cobbled roads, and along stony brooks up the side of the mountain. I ran into a herd of cows (yes, my sister was there, but that is for another post), a flight of deer across a nettled floor, and into the same Roman Ruins that pilgrims have walked passed or sat on for over a thousand years. It was a wonder ... all of it.

the camino
But then near to the end, I hit an airport that I had to walk around. It was at the end of the day, and I had already walked maybe twelve or thirteen miles. I turned the corner out of a wood and hit it. Where it had been cool and scented for miles, it became unbearably hot and dirty. I didn't think that I would make it round. I felt like I was melting into the grass that surrounded the runways. I had a kerchief that I had used to be pilgrim-y, so I tied four corner knots and made a delightful make-shift hat. My legs felt heavier and heavier with each step. And all I could think about was, not the Coca-Cola that Claire, my Australian teammate, always welcomed me with at the end of the race ... she was always five minutes ahead, no matter what I did, or how fast I walked. Of course, those that know me, know that that can be pretty slow. And my slow arse, couldn't wait for an ice-cold BEER. I made it to the end. And Claire and our guide were seated at a restaurant ready to eat a big meal, and I grumbled through parched lips, no thanks, give me a cerveza ... a big one, and keep 'em coming.

Jesus had wine. But I doubt he had any on his journey.  I wonder if he had much water. I've been thinking about this today, and trying to identify what I should do to honor this commitment. I'm not much for 'giving up' something. I'd rather do something that would be good for me ... and something that I'm not doing, so it could be called a hardship. I don't think that is such an original concept. And so today, I began my journey through 40 days. I will do some kind of active behavior everyday. I will not define. Limit it. I will just do it. And make a calendar to mark off the days because I like to check off a list.

I also abstained from meat today. And will for Fridays. It's good to eat fish. I came home today from a tour of the neighborhood, and am making potato soup for dinner. I remember my mother making it when we were young, and it was always so yummy. Also wanting to clean out my fridge a little, I've tossed in a few extras from my mom would have done.

Here's the recipe ....

1 onion
4 celery stalks
2 carrot sticks

I food processed these because I'm not always the best chopper, and since I will infusion blend the soup, I thought that this would be a good idea. I sauteed the above in olive oil and smidge of butter.

4 peeled potatoes

I added water to the pot. Cubed the potatoes and threw them in to boil. I added some seasonings:

Sea Salt
Pepper (lots)
Herbs de Provence ('cause I like it)

Once the potatoes were soft, I added a little (1/8 cup) heavy cream that I had left over from some chocolate sauce I had made for a friend, and skim milk. And then infusion blended it.

The result ... YUMMY. I've got to remember this for the future when I have other foodstuffs aging on the shelf.

40 days. We can all do it, if we are purposed.

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