I am drinking locust-blossom elixir. I’ve been drinking it all morning, and contrary to the assertions of the marvelous Doug Elliott (from whom I learned to make the stuff) it is QUITE intoxicating.
Though, to be fair, the giddiness started the moment I walked the boys to school through groves of blooming locust trees this morning, and was fairly advanced before I ever took a sip of the blossom-infused water. I had not expected the locusts to be in bloom yet—I spent last week in Boone, where the trees are only in the precontemplative phase of leafing out (sorry, counseling joke)—so I used my travel mug to carry home handfuls of the blossoms. Carrying a coffee mug filled with frothy flowers is like holding the poetic precursor to a latte. I got a lot of smiles. (Smiles were a theme—the smilacina racemosa has come out, lining the path through the forest, and the boys were nibbling new sprouts of smilax on their way to school.)
It was too beautiful to go straight home. I stopped at my friend’s house first, to talk with her about an expressive arts workshop she is putting on this weekend, and then it seemed to me Randall Jarrell would appreciate the scent of locust flowers, so I visited him too.
And eventually, as I always do, I ended up in the meadow. I love this meadow. Last week, I even found myself sitting in its tall grasses near midnight with a lit candelabra (I was walking home from joy circle, so naturally I had a candelabra), looking at stars. Life is good in a meadow at midnight with a candelabra.
This time of year, the meadow is brimful of dandelions, and I had just signed up to bring four dozen cookies to my son’s end-of-kindergarten picnic, so I improvised a pouch and started collecting petals for dandelion cookies. My hands are already stained turmeric-yellow from gathering gallons of dandelion blooms in Boone yesterday; those will become infused oil and medicinal tincture, but today’s dandelions are for pure delight.
This whole morning was for pure delight. The scent of locust in bloom, slow time to gather dandelions, watching my children chase geese and pick up tulip poplar flowers and discover lily-of-the-valley for the first time. Conversations with friends and dead poets, fields of nodding flowers, sipping blossom elixir, the scent of baking cookies. My inspiring friend Briana just wrote a beautiful blog about drifting for pleasure, and that is what this morning was, a long slow drift of delight. (Even the cookies drifted over the edges of their pan a little bit!)
What a wonderful gift, time simply to absorb any pleasure, any inclination for delight, that might be blossoming at the edges of consciousness.
(Another incredibly creative and inspiring friend, Laura, taught me to document these moments–her feedback is always along the lines of “hmm, great story, WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?” Thank you Laura. This blog’s for you, baby.)
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c. raw sugar
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. dandelion petals, calyx removed
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until they froth. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the whites are stiff, but not dry. Fold in the coconut and dandelion (you can use all dandelion instead, but it takes a looooooong time to gather 2 cups of petals, and then what are you going to make oil and wine and tincture and vinegar with??) and drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 300 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
(Note on gathering: make sure the area you are gathering in has not been sprayed and is not near a roadside or a frequent pitstop for pets. Leave a few open flowers for the bees. After you’ve gathered the dandelions, let them sit in a basket outside for a while so the critters can jump ship.)