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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Raspberry Jam

Mmmmmm . . . Raspberry Jam! I love it. I love strawberry Jam too. Let's face it i like jam.

There's nothing quite as joyful as opening a jar of raspberry jam on a cold, snowy winter day. Although opening a jar of garden tomatoes you canned last summer's end and thawing out some green chilies roasted and frozen that same weekend might rival the jam.

Once the jar of jam is opened, the scent alone reminds me of the fresh fruit, and the color(!) oh my, such a deep rich red the kind of red you just don't see in Colorado during the winter months. No, not red. Brown? Yes. Gray? Yes. White? You betcha! But red? No, not so much. Maybe left over Christmas ornaments, or perhaps ones cheeks or nose from being outside, but that's about it.

Oh, and this color remind me of other berries, strawberries especially; and roses and ruby-throated hummingbirds, and the little heads of the finches which nest in my porch light.

It's good to think of these things, to remember the joys of hearty Summer whilst deep in the throes of Old Man Winter.

These simple things we do, spreading jam on toast for breakfast or making our children's lunch for school can be moments to remind one to be mindful. We can take the time to think about the jam we are spreading. What is this glorious stuff full of seeds with their potential for more life and fruit bearing (well, maybe not after the canning process . . . but maybe if it's freezer jam). It is clearly more than the jam, it is not simply jam that is to say, for nothing is self arising. It is so much more than just jam.

Think of the rainwater that went into growing the plant and it's berries, and all that sunshine being turned into sugars by these miraculous plants. And what of the clouds in the great sky that brought that rain, and the ocean it came from and all the weather it brought to others on its way from there to here. What about the dirty hands of the gardener who pruned last years raspberry canes and planted the seeds or the root seedlings. And there's the soil, and the compost and leaf mulch which made it and the worms which enriched and aerated it. When you look at the jam can you see the rain and the soil, the gardener and the garden; can you see the sun, the weather and the worm.

No, this is clearly much more than simply jam, this is part of the endless process of life. Perhaps jam represents a still point moment in the planets water cycle. Perhaps it is the worms' pinnacle altruistic achievement.

How She Knew

and her children grew
since crying from birth,
to make their own wombs,
harvest fruit from the earth

that pollen from flowers
of daisies fed bees;
both laughter and hours
heal badly scraped knees

kites that she flew,
once tethered by string,
now nesting in trees
for birds on the wing

that's how she knew,
in no uncertain terms
that god loved earth,
the circle, the worms

-David A. Martin

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