Thursday afternoon, Parent Teacher conferences.
Not my favorite activity. They are exhausting.
I look up to see a mother-son pair heading my way. The student was totally lost first semester, but has done a 180 and is shining this semester. His work is in on time. He comes early to ask me questions. He talks with everyone. He sits down with his mom. His shoulders are back, his head up. He makes eye contact. We all smile. I compliment him on his radical change of behavior. “What happened?” I ask. His mother nods. She is also wondering. “I didn’t like not doing well,” he said. “I always got As and bad grades weren’t me. I decided I needed to work harder.” I cannot stress how unusual this is—for a ninth grade boy, on his own, to decide to do better and follow through on it. It speaks well for his future. His mother and I listen. She nods proudly. He son will be ok.
On Saturday, despite a downpour, we head for the hills and a long loop walk on logging roads through the OSU forest. There are Bleeding Heart and Fawn Lilies along the roadside. The moss is fat on the Douglas fir trees and sparkles in the sun. Dogs run ahead of their owners. I can hear the voices of my companions solving the world’s problems behind me, but I am not interested. The steady pace of the walk, rising and falling along the ridgeline, is peaceful. I have never been good at sitting meditation, but the rhythm of walking clears my mind.
After heavy showers and clouds all week, the day is clear. I mow and trim out the backyard and consider, once again, how much bigger it looks when mowed. After raking and replacing the chairs, I check on the beehive—comb, pollen, honey, and the queen is out of her box. The hive is buzzing, but not aggressive. I cut off one branch to increase the amount of sun on their front stoop and settle in with a book and my notebooks, dreaming of plants. In the garden, the leeks, spring greens, and peas are growing. Tulips and alliums are blooming, and the bees have discovered the comfrey and wild hyacinth blooms. One cat perches on the cinder block in the flower bed; the other curls up on a blanket draped over a chair. The bunny chows on the freshly mowed grass. The world is peaceful.
|Whipping cream will not splatter!|
Coconut Cream Pie: This makes many people happy
Three parts— prebaked crust, pastry cream, and whipped cream, made in that order.
1.5 c milk
Start to warm in the pan. When the butter melts, it is ready.
Meanwhile, whisk six egg yolks, from backyard eggs, into .5 c milk, .25 c cornstarch, and .5 c of sugar.
Pour this mixture into the warmed milk and stir. Slowly heat the whole mixture, stirring regularly, until it thickens. Pour off into a bowl, add a splash of vanilla and a large handful of dried coconut, cover with plastic to avoid the film, and cool overnight. Assemble right before eating.
Lap the bowl when done.