Sunday, March 27, 2016


Sister Spring in the Big City
SPRING HAS ALREADY COME TO BIRDLAND. The grass is greening up and daffodils are blooming. The velvety buds of Maple give just the lightest blush of red to the still leafless branches. Lilacs are pushing out their bright green leaves and the blossoms will soon follow. The Ornamental Quince has tiny buds, like rose colored capers, dotting the bush. The Sedum still has last year's russet bouquets, but it's time to cut those away to make way for the green leaves coming up at the base of the plant. I've got work to do in the yard today, but just now, standing at the kitchen window, waiting for the milk to boil for yogurt I see a parade of White Tails run across the still barren field into this broad morning. The dogs are sleeping at my feet, and good thing, or they would take off after, and follow the deer to the next county.

daffodils trumpet the dawn
Yesterday Michael and I went up to Chicago to visit our middle boy, Dylan. He was having an event, a "pop up" he calls "Recovery Soup at The Dinner Table." He hosts this monthly meal at a neighborhood bar, called "The Double." For just six dollars you can get a cup of soup and a hunk of a crusty hearth bread. For every cup sold, $2 will benefit a local organization. This month's was the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  

We went up early, to spend a sunny day walking around with our red-haired boy. We didn't have a plan, just walked around the neighborhood. We happened upon an art show at the Logan Square Comfort Station, the only one remaining. The web site tells us that nine identical comfort stations were built in the 1920's for use as a "warming buildings/public restrooms." I like the term, "comfort station," and the hospitality it suggests. I like even more that this was a public building. Rich and poor alike need a place to get warm and use the restroom. This one escaped demolition, and is now an art space. A Tudor style cottage with, yes, public restrooms, but also an art and performance space. We narrowly missed hearing live music—happened by just in time to see the musicians packing their cases. Next time we'll check out the website before we decide just how to spend an afternoon. At least we got to see the art, some interesting concept pieces made from various residues. We walked around and chatted. 

When we were hungry we found a place for a little lunch (saving room, of course, for the main event of the evening, Dylan's soup). We discovered a new brewery, and tried some of their beers. People met friends and played Scrabble and Jenga at a brewhouse called Hopewell. A group came in with a trio of Corgis on leashes. Another group greeted the dogs, and their people too. We went back out to discover more of the neighborhood. When we found an interesting shop we went in and browsed. We saw locally produced artful jewelry and clothing. We found a bike shop still open a few minutes after its posted closing time. "Sure! Come on in," they said when we asked. I bought a tiny brass bell for my bike. It gives one, clear, zen-like peal when I pull back the action. Dylan pointed out a shop window with a funny sculpture. I didn't see a title, but I think of it as the Goddess of Spring. She had feathers and flowers in her multi colored hair. Her arms were made of slinkies, (a fun, visual pun) and her hands were rubber gloves (spring cleaning, anyone?). In one hand she held a nest, in the other a snowman peered out of a cloud of puff of polyester fiber, suggesting a cloud or a snowbank. Her body was branches wrapped in colors and blooming in flowers. Birds perched on various parts of her. Dylan said that the sculpture in the window changes occasionally, and that it's fun to see what's new. It was a friendly kind of wandering on a sunny day.
Wander in Beauty; Sup in Peace; Blessed Be
Next it was time to pick up the soup for the event. We made ourselves useful by driving and then watched Dylan set up. Soon the soup was hot and friends and strangers alike were coming in for a hot cup. This month's was a hearty vegetable. Big chunks of still slightly crisp vegetables, plus a garnish of parboiled bitter melon and carrots, gave the soup a spring-time crunch. Chunks of something with a citrusy flavor intrigued me, and I had to ask Dylan what it was: daikon. We ate our soup and then headed home, but we'll be back next month. I can't wait to taste what Dylan will make next time.
Wander in Beauty; Sup in Peace; Blessed Be.