T’s been ill this week with a chest infection in the weaker of his lungs, a perhaps lingering trigger from his birth. For two nights I slept with him perched on my chest, elevated, elevating. I say “slept” – is that the word for prolonged intake of breath? In those hours when the world dreamt around us, I listened to the rasp from my youngest and the irony of our perception of power, our dominance of strength glared like a beam in the starlit night sky.
Though M’s birth had been upsetting, being away from T for his first forays into being was incomprehensibly hard. Whereas M’s birth I could revisit to put perspective on it, I cannot recall that first week with(out) T. Instead I take from it a reminder in gratitude of how fragile life is. Living too often takes us away from the frailty that is being, lends us a sense of empowerment we forget to loose go of. Whether it’s wishing hours away to bedtime or telling our child to wait just one minute longer, we take the future for granted, expect tomorrow, that minute to follow seamlessly on from our today.
A pram-friendly minibus leaves from outside our door but more often than not I prefer to walk the three kilometres from here into town. With M in the pram on eagle-eyed lookout for stones to collect and puddles to throw into, whatever the temperature I practically skip along the straight country lane. Behind me mountains stretch, breathing out the freshest of air, on my chest temperate T snuggles in. We pass horses pulling carts filled with branches, and dogs huddled with puppies in the nave of straw barns. We sing out, really sing, and there’s no-one but birds there to hear my out of tune squeaks, or the giggled replies of my two fellow men. They say you should never move an olive tree once its’ set down its roots. they say that for the branches to bow down with the weight of its fruit the trees must be tendered with loving care, and that the best olive oil comes from trees sung under and in. Last week, on our way to the butcher to buy bones for a soup listening to the songs the now empty branches sang we read as we walked the story of the trees. It’s the end of this years’ harvest crop. Leaves have been pruned and those not collected for firewood lie remnant on the ground, a shimmering carpet of silver, and round the base of each tree punctuating the blanket lies new compost circular in its blanket; the trees’ thanks for a fruitful year.
Fragilty comes in a number of forms. Yesterday, after a 5.30 agitated wake-up, post a night of not enough shut-eye for anyone, I remembered M’s face full of wonder as we noted each trees’ rich root base and decided to press rewind on the mornings events. Nothing snaps toddler squeaks into giggles faster than the fun of getting messy with flour and few things makes a mama smile more than fresh coffee (drunk hot!) with a side dish of scones, tiny-handed thumb-printed with approval.
Give a tree just the basic and its’ branches grow taller, its’ leaves will unfurl with the seasons, but given the right blend and a nurturing touch their branches add blooms to the leaves.
Lemon Poppy-Seed Scones
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3tbs poppy seeds
1tsp baking powder
150g cold butter
2tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup milk
Rub, or cut using blunt knives, the butter into the dry ingredients. Beat the egg with the liquids and combine wet-to-dry to form a dough. On a floured surface, flatten the dough into a rectangular shape and use a cutter, or bottom of a glass, to cut scones. Bake at 170degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden on top.