Last night, as I was walking home from school, I caught my first sight of Spring: cherry blossoms caught by moonlight. And though just one tree on the park-square had blossoms, the smell of pregnant buds perfumed the sidewalk.
But you know what my first thought was? "Well it's about time already!"
This happened at the farmer's market this past weekend also. The sight of spinach, the first fresh green I've seen there in months, was met with a fleeting moment of happiness that ended in ambivalence verging on annoyance. Part of this has to do with the fact that for some time now I have seen pictures from friends and family online proudly displaying their Spring bounty at the market, documenting the shower of blooms in their front yards, and even boasting of their triumphs in the garden. Meanwhile, here on the East Coast, we've just had our first week of temperatures above freezing. It is hard not to feel like our little steps toward Spring are too late, or unimportant somehow, because someone else got there first.
I've had this experience on the yoga mat plenty of times as well. For months, or years, I would watch members of my kula bend and fly into dynamic and glorious postures. I even sometimes used others as models, or set their pose as my goal, thinking, "Some day I'll be able to do that!" Then one day, I would. And when this happened, I would often think: OK, good, done, what's next?
The problem is, when you constantly look outside yourself at where other people are, or what they're doing, you lose sight of exactly where you are. So of course you would discount the journey! You were never really fully on it to begin with. I am not negating the need for mentors and models: I have profound respect for teachers, and I think colleagues and peers can often be the best ones. But if you are always noticing that they are getting somewhere first and just hoping you can be there, too, by the time you arrive, you'll feel like it's already too late.
A recipe for those of us who have some time yet to go before Spring produce, but who can cherish exactly where we are.
Beets and Beans
4 large beets (cellared is fine)
2 cups large dry beans of any variety, soaked, and then cooked with an onion in the pot
2 tsp grainy mustard
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbls sherry vinegar
6 tbls extra-virgin olive oil
3 oz. feta cheese
1 cup toasted walnuts
Large-grained sea salt
Roast beets in a covered dish at 400°F for one hour, or until tender. In the meantime, mix mustard and vinegar with a pinch of salt before dripping olive oil in slowly to create an emulsified vinaigrette.
When the beets are tender, allow them to cool slightly before peeling and then slicing into ½ inch pieces. Toss the slices with half of the vinaigrette and allow them to marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
When ready to serve, toss the cooked beans with the remaining vinaigrette. Arrange the beets on a plate and spread the beans among them. Top with crumbled feta cheese and toasted walnuts, and sprinkle with sea salt.