Cabin Fever Reliever – Fresh Greens at Winter Farmers’ Markets

Winter Greens grown in Maine

Fresh local greens grown in Maine during the legendary winter of 2015.

Come in from the cold white snow and have some fresh green salad. It may still be wintry outside, but Maine’s Indoor Farmer’s Markets are warm, colorful, and a locavore’s feast. They are lush with fresh locally grown greens and storage vegetables, all natural meats and poultry, hand-crafted breads, baked goods, jams, condiments, teas, soaps, and country artisan wares. It is a great reason to get out of your hut and visit a local farmer, maker or baker, but be careful with those giant snow banks in the parking lot. Abundance is available year round in our Maine CSA’s and Farmers’ Markets. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and serves as a member share that allows communities direct access to locally grown produce from regional farmers. These wonderful local resources offer fresh healthful options that can uplift spirits and the body’s seasonal energy.

Eating locally grown and cultivated foods in season is the optimal way to eat-to-energize. Especially fresh greens that are nutrient and flavor rich. Some lettuces are hydroponically grown and there are tasty cold hardy greens like spinach and kale that are grown in greenhouses, even in winter on the 44th parallel. All greens are low in calories and high in fiber and vitamin A. Kale is a powerhouse of vitamins C and K, and contains folate, a B vitamin that is essential to brain development. Spinach is loaded with the same strengthening vitamins and is a super rich source of antioxidants and minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The ultimate green vitamin machine. Popeye had it right. When he ate his spinach it put the power in his punch that took care of that big bully Brutus. A little spinach may be the nutritional energy boost you need to get your creative mojo moving.

March is an annual time for food rituals and improving nutritional habits for the new season of growth ahead. Fasting and eating for strength is naturally empowering as our circadian rhythms enliven with the return of daylight savings and the vernal equinox on the 20th. This year on the first day of spring there is a total solar eclipse, and its a Super Moon, when the moon is closest to the Earth and in direct alignment with the Sun and Earth. This is a healing spring energy and a powerful opportunity for new beginnings and mind, body, spirit renewal. A diet with fresh, living food that is grown locally is a way to celebrate the season and emerge renewed. This week I’ve been enjoying hydroponic lettuces that are delicious and alive! I’ve stored the plants in glass vases with a bit of water and I’m savoring each yummy living leaf. They are beautiful to see in my sunny kitchen and they’re growing! It’s March magic as the snow melts off my old New England cabin, and me.

Forage for local, fresh food at your neighborhood co-op or at one of these great seasonal Farmers’ Markets in Maine.

Breaking Trail After the Storm

Breaking Trail on the Marginal Way

Breaking Trail on the Marginal Way

Fresh white powdery snow, over three feet of it this week in coastal Maine and more on the way. It’s a winter marvel and a menace that reminds us of the beauty and power of nature. A big New England blizzard can bring our everyday lives to a standstill, a time when we are forced to shelter in place and take pause. The local weather report says stay at home and don’t drive, public parking is banned, and schools and other activities are cancelled. It’s a snow day. Sweet!

A classic storm and snow day can be a kind of creative bombogenesis, when we strongly feel nature and have a moment to express our human nature in a vortex of creativity in motion. This is a real meteorological term that describes the birth of a rapidly intensifying extratropical surface cyclone that “bombs” out with a powerful burst of weather energy. Beginning with our focused preparation for being snowed in (procuring fuel, food, water, grown-up beverages, snacks, rock salt, shovels, candles, flashlights, and survival stuff), to the expressive ways we occupy the special homebound time (cooking, eating, sleeping, dreaming, reading, playing, communicating, imagining, relating, and doing our creative thing), snow days are an empowered freedom to find comfort and connect. The storm ends, then on to the practical agony of shoveling and clean-up, and the thrilling enjoyment of brilliant sunshine and winter sports. In the quiet and rage of a Nor’easter nature gives the gift of creative presence, with self and our environment, and blesses us with wellness time that helps us get on track and just be ourselves.

White out conditions make our common world uncommon. All clean, pure, and bright with no horizon in view, just windswept white flakes. Snow begins as a single ice crystal and is shaped into a symmetric radial form by atmospheric conditions as it falls from the sky. It appears white and is actually clear ice that diffuses the reflection of the spectrum of light in all the microscopic facets of each crystal. Color technology. Snowflakes are indeed mostly unique, and like the phenomenon of light’s white radiance sparkling on water, each flake is a luminous little rainbow.

Snow is like a big white blank page of frozen fractals awaiting the organic expression of your thoughts, feelings, words, and images. Find a fresh white snowy landscape, whether its the cold powdery stuff now abundant in the northeast or a fresh piece of blank white paper, and break a trail. Mark a symbolic pathway to your creativity in the spirit of new beginnings. Genesis is the origin of something, whether is comes in a BOMB of snow or a vortex of expression. The bombogenesis of storms, in nature and life, can inspire us to break a fresh trail and take an adventure. Angels do it, we can track their prints in the snow, evidence of the resilient creative spirit in motion.

Personal Epiphanies – Wisdom Born of Reflection

Personal epiphanies, like a star shining in the night.

Personal epiphanies, like a star shining in the night.

In the quiet of winter the creative mind is never at rest. Asleep or awake, snowy moments of contemplation can take us to the deepest, richest part of our knowing. That thought that you’ve been thinking, thinking, thinking about. That problem you’ve been focused on for a long, long time. It is an idea in the dark waiting for you to shine a light on it. You’ve worked on it, whatever that “it” is, and it is somehow elusive and unknowable. You believe in this unknown and keep your faith and focus knowing that wisdom will be revealed. Then you discover “it”! A simple and striking revelation, like a light bulb turning on. Aha! Eureka! You’ve discovered an important insight in a brilliant personal epiphany.

Personal epiphanies are rare and enlightening moments of self-realization. They birth us into a new knowing affirmed by hope and a better understanding of ourselves, our relationships, and our environment. This awareness allows us to make breakthroughs and manifest our best and brightest self. Letting go of negativity and believing in the positive evolution of an idea, frees the creative mind to investigate new ways of thinking, doing, and being. There is a catharsis of enlightenment in the power of personal wisdom. Our intuitive perception of reality is a divine universe where we can take great leaps in understanding and have the great feeling of personally having figured “it” out, and it is what we’d hoped for and more.

Epiphanies can be personal, scientific, or religious. Eureka means “I have found it!” and is famously attributed to the Ancient Greek polymath Archimedes. One of the most important scientists of all time, the innovative ideas born of his intellection and creative refection are the foundation of mathematics and physics. He used the celebratory exclamation “eureka” to announce the discovery of his scientific principle of buoyancy, which happened while in the bath tub when he observed how his body displaced the same volume of water when he got in and out. He didn’t stop pondering his problem just because he was taking a bathroom break. Epiphanies can happen anywhere at anytime, even in the shower or on the toilet.

Religious epiphanies are when the spiritual seeker finds the source of faith. It’s a recognition of belief that enlightens our path and directs our moral compass. The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated by many Christian traditions on January 6th, a date that marks the spiritual season and the divine realization of hope. This is the time when a star appeared to the Three Wise Men which they followed to Bethlehem and it revealed the birth of Jesus.

Like a star that appears in the darkness to guide your inner light, a personal epiphany is an empowering awareness that comes when we are able to reflect on the essential creative nature of everything. Vehicles for epiphany are informed by the internal and external factors that make us work hard to better understand and improve our life condition. Obstacles become benefactors. Hopeful, we walk into the light. The new year brings new opportunities to reflect and grow into the divine manifestation we seek. My solstice watercolor painting is called “Winter Epiphany”, with all blessings for 2015.