The Maasai and The Soda Bread

This is actually a re-post of a piece I had on my recipe page. St. Patrick’s Day is big here in the Boston area so I thought I’d share it again. The recipe is still on the page and I invite you to take a look. 

When my children were small we belonged to a multi-racial family group because that’s what we are. It amazes me how many of these families there are these days but back then there were only half as many. As a group, socializing together was just one of the strategies we used to make sure our children felt comfortable in their own skins.

One March, right around St. Patrick’s Day, one of the families hosted a visit by a Maasai tribesman at their home. The mother of the family took great pride in telling the story of how her mother-in-law had taught her the recipe for THE best Irish Soda Bread. I marveled at the scene, watching her wave a piece of soda bread around as she boasted, Kenti cloth around her head and a Maasai guy standing next to her. It was an unusually warm day for March in Boston so we were out on her lawn and all these little different hued kids were running and tumbling around her. It was a very good day. Please enjoy her recipe and happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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Longing for the Light

I made it! It’s Daylight Savings Time again and it’s really a saving time for me personally. It’s so important to me that this year I set my alarm so I could watch the clock on my cell phone change from 1:59 to 3:00am. It was a beautiful moment. I know the benefits of DST are debatable and that there are a lot of people who disagree with my point of view. A couple of years ago the Christian Science Monitor did a good piece on the debate (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0313/Daylight-Saving-Time-Remind-me-again-why-we-spring-forward) For me though, it’s a saving time because of how much I long for the light.

I’ve discussed in previous posts how hard winter is for me and that the lack of light is both a physical and spiritual hardship.  As is the case most of the time, I find connections between nature and my sensibilities. I guess this time of longer light, although really an illusion, corresponds with my need to turn my face toward the stronger sunlight and my soul toward the eternal light. I’m not alone either. After all, in this Lenten season don’t Christians contemplate the meaning and message of “the light of the world”?

I use my longer days during DST to sit in front of the door to my balcony and try to be still and absorb the light down to my cellular level, to receive the benefits of its warmth and glow. It feels so good and comforting, better than any blanket in winter. I love to close my eyes and see the orange shine on the inside of my eyelids.  It’s a wonder to me just how much light can penetrate my skin. I try to absorb and yet be absorbed by the light. I find it’s easier to meditate in it because its intensity outshines me and I can lose myself in it. And I try to concentrate on how I can be a reflection of the beautiful light.

Saving and relishing daylight is more than a practice or a metaphor; it’s a representation of a life force that’s essential to the preservation of all of us. It’s a lovely reminder of the power that sustains us.  So, at this time, I’ll sit in the sun everyday that I can for as long as I can in gratitude of the light.