Friday, April 01, 2005

Vernal Pools; April Fools!

Well, I made my first potato salad of the season...As I said, in my last entry, it is REALLY Spring here in the mountains- and I keep awaiting Winter’s last clutching and clawing effort as it fades, but so far, nothing. I’ll take it!

I've just been so excited watching Spring unfold here. Out on my land, the garden is losing its’ blanket of snow a bit at a time. I keep wondering how my herbs wintered over under the straw I “insulated” them with for extra protection.

Our vernal pools (the seasonal pooling of melt-off from higher up on the land) are formed and forming, depending on how far back or close-in they are. Last year I put my fingers down into the water where you could see the holes from whence the water “burbled” up through. That is some very cold, pure water- cold enough to make my fingers hurt, but even so, it’s so pure and newly melted, that it felt so special and sacred to me.

There is something very spiritual about water for me- all the forms it can take depending on heat and cold; the way it will go around and tumble over obstacles, wearing them away.
I think of Niagara Falls, and the POWER of the water there.

I have stood purposefully just where that water drops from that upper riverbed. The pure POWER of that moment just before the water falls, is mind-boggling to me and so very humbling. I highly recommend a trip there if one has never been and stand JUST where the water is about to fall. Now THAT’S TRUE POWER. In fact, it puts all human machinations and attempts at power in very CLEAR perspective!

Water is an amazing thing. It is used in a variety of religious ceremonies of purification and dedication. This new Spring melt-off water in the vernal pools is very special and powerful in its’ own way, to me, just as the River (nearby Hudson River, where it is small and beautiful) is Sacred and Healing Sanctuary for me.

You'll laugh at this:
Just after dusk last night, when it was getting quite dark (it was also heavily cloudy since rain was coming, so darker than usual at that time of the evening), I was walking my Darius dog. I can walk him in pitch black darkness and he'll never lead me to any danger, so I completely trust him. Well, we came around the back end of the “Big Loop" -this is routine route that we walk several times a day for years, so we have pretty much memorized the way it goes- even in the darkness. I knew that there was a vernal pool forming there earlier in the day, but nothing I had to heavily "navigate" or try to avoid yet- it was tiny and still under some crust of snow and ice.

So we get to where that dip in the path is, where the pool was going to form and I step forward in the darkness. I feel cold water seeping into my boots and hear, *sploosh*. As I take the automatic next step forward thinking it was a step OUT of the small puddle of earlier in the day- to my surprise after the day's melt, I stepped into even deeper water.

A very deep (up to my knees) and wide pool had formed since I had last been there in the late afternoon- it was a just few hours later now.

I had been doing my verbal prayerwork that I always do while walking. I only stopped my devotions to say, "Well, THAT's interesting!" and I laughed at myself...I mean, what a silly thing to say, right? But I was really surprised that I didn't feel angry or panicked, or upset in the least.

I thought I could see through the darkness, where snow piled up on the left side of the path and pool, so I aimed my step there, thinking it was solid ground and I could go around the pool in a step or so and guess what? That step only found that the pool got deeper... and so also wider!!!! I couldn't help but regard the whole deal with a smile...I mean...somehow it was funny to me. I giggled at what this whole scene would look like if I was watching it from another point of view.

I felt like I had received a BIG April Fool’s prank from Mother Nature, Herself! Maybe that is why I kept giggling and smiling throughout the whole thing- oddly didn’t feel anger about the frigid water in which my toes were squooshing about as I walked. I did at one point wonder if my toes would freeze, but it had nearly reached 60 degrees yesterday, so I reasoned that I would likely not have frozen toes. That was just a couple seconds’ worth of thought.

So I just continued on with my verbal devotions, included this event in the counting of my blessings- hey why not?! I took big slogging steps through the water- very cold pure, newly-birthed water from high up on our land- and with filled boots, smooshy socks and my sense of humor: figured that there was a message in it about getting my feet wet in the practical postpartum doula work ahead of me, about which I had been slightly hesitant and wondering just how to begin...couldn't miss that if I tried!

Darius and I squooshed our way back to the house. He wasn't so happy about his feet getting wet and cold either, but his feet are fuzzy to cope with such, as he is a sled dog- I call them his "snowshoes". Anyhow...that's my story.

I love the word, "vernal". I knew a lovely human being named Verna...she was like a mother to me, when I really needed one after my sister died. If you are out there somewhere, Verna...I think of you often with Love.

At my house, we consider such as potato salad to be Spring and Summer faire, but you midwinter sometimes JUST to defy Winter...I will haul off and make some potato salad!

My potato salad has:

potatoes of course
eggs (I always save one out to cut in thin slices and arrange into a flower shape on top for garnish)
carrots shredded (lots)
gr. pepper (some)
One of my sons really dislikes onion, so I chop it up and make it an option for everyone to sprinkle over or not, as they choose. This time I chopped scallions since I LOVE the green part.
Mayo-olive oil-italian dressing (for the herbs in it) mixed together (trying to dilute the mayo with some olive oil every time and jazz it up with herbs- am growing oregano in my kitchen window. My indoor thyme died- it's finicky and I have a patch that I transplanted from a friends lawn, years ago, outside. I will dig more up and bring it in when it comes up again. Up here, thyme grows wild on alot of folks' lawns, and I mean covering their lawns. When they smells like heaven!)
Oh yeah I did put celery in also!
We didn't have pickles at the time so I didn't put those in, but would have.

I like to call it Kitchen Sink Potato Salad, because whatever I find in the fridge that seems right and strikes my fancy, I put in- most anything/everything but the Kitchen Sink!

Today is rainy-looking again. Well April showers bring May flowers. (You know what Mayflowers bring- dang Puritans! *wink*)


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