I’m fixated with the expressive community of purple puffs that reside outside my back door. My chives are the first to wake up from winter, and right now, their blossoms are at their peak. I’m off work for the summer (one of the big perks of being a teacher), and need a little structure for my days. If I boil it down, my needs are as follows: nature, time to think and create, time to be productive, a little social interaction, and time to just be. Unchecked, I always have so many ideas about how to spend my energy, I become a neurotic hyper hamster trying to conquer the world by running in a circle. I make to do lists and to don’t lists, and on the days that are the seemingly most free of duties, I fret over getting enough meaningful things done. I have decided to structure my time in a purposely unstructured way.
I’ve always fallen into the trap that nature, thinking, creating, feeling productive, being social, and even just being, have to be a big deal. I have to pack up A, B, C and D, and drive to X location to be in awesomeness. Only when I’m there, if I get there at all, after a lively internal debate about where to go, I think, am I sitting in the right spot? Am I missing out on something else I could should would be doing? Opera performances at the Met are a big deal. Foreign policy negotiations are a big deal. Brain surgery is a big, big deal. This is not a big deal, but it’s hugely important.
Lately, I’ve been inviting the hamster off the wheel (you know, the one who spins and spins and says, “Do this, do that, think-think-think your way into trouble, out of trouble, if only you could just thiiiiiiink a little harder!”). I’ve tried forcibly removing the little guy at times, but he is often like a 3 year old. The more I try to force him off, the more he wants to run. Coaxing is the key. Hamster, you know I love you, right? You are so motivated and you consider things from so many different angles! Why don’t you take a break while I go out into my garden? Let’s keep it simple. I might pull a few weeds, or I might just sit and admire how nature takes its own path even if we try to tame it. I might stay out for 2 minutes, or 2 minutes might turn into two hours. Here’s a cool glass of whatever hamsters like to drink, wiith an umbrella on top. Even hamsters need to breathe.
These beautiful little blossoms are part of my purposely unstructured-structured morning routine. There they are, three steps from my back door, a representation of nature. Spears of green, shades of purple, lavender, and pink. Dried remnants of the wrappers they grew too big to fit into. The damp coolness that hovers over the grass, and the sideways hazy morning light, beaming warmth onto my groggy face. Noticing nature in its many forms has become step one of my morning routine.
Purple is the color I associate most with spring–crocuses, lilacs, and chive blossoms. Purple reminds me to wake up, step outside, and be mindful. The heat will ramp up soon, and bleach the color away from our crazy headed plant companions. Luckily, we’ll have beautifully fuscia-tinged jars of liquid spring to perk up our favorite dishes and to remind us to take a moment to invite the hamster off the wheel to breathe, see and notice.
Chive Blossom Infused Vinegar
- Chive blossoms, enough to fill your chosen jar
- Vinegar (white wine or champagne), enough to fill your jar(s)
Wash and dry the chive blossoms. Stuff the chive blossoms, 2/3 full into clean and dry jars. Heat the vinegar to an almost simmer, and then pour it over the chive blossoms. Push the blossoms down gently to submerge them (they will still want to pop up, and that’s okay). Put a lid on the jar and place in a dark cupboard to steep for about a week. The liquid will be a bright fuchsia color, and taste lightly oniony. Pour into another clean jar through a fine mesh strainer.