As we warmly welcome the bright and cheerful colors of Spring, enjoy the poem below by Walt Whitman – a reminder of all the good and beautiful “miracles” that surround us daily.
“Miracles” by Walt Whitman, American poet, 1819-1892
Why, who makes much of a miracle? As to me I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love… Or sit at table at dinner with the rest, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring; These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place. To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every cubic inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every foot of the interior swarms with the same. To me the sea is a continual miracle, The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
The transition from winter to spring is never an easy overnight happening. It can be a time of slow adjustments – a waking up of the senses to the soft light and intoxicating freshness of the spring air. It is the only seasonal transition where the body and soul yearn for a restorative break from the previous season’s grip.
With a feeling as if the world is in upheaval, spinning away from the light and into the darkness of chaos, confusion and conflict where incompetent leaders have “lay waste [their] powers”, the need for a spring “break” this year of 2016 seems all the more necessary.
“The world is too much with us”, William Wordsworth once wrote in a poem that speaks to the importance of the restorative powers of nature for the body and soul: Read more
“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring…[w]hat is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of the earth’s SWEET being in the beginning…” –Gerard Manley Hopkins from the poem “Spring”
Nothing is more perfect than a slightly sweet, light, ethereal dessert after dining on a plateful of pasta at an old-world Italian restaurant on an early spring evening.
You could say that the Italian dessert “Panna Cotta” is like tasting a bit of spring itself in all of its lightness, sweetness and silky, creamy freshness. A simple pudding-like dessert, Panna Cotta (which literally means “cooked cream”) originated in Northern Italy, where “the earliest recipes mention simmering the cream with fish bones (the collagen would set the cream).” Read more
“Walls for the wind, And a roof for the rain, And drinks beside the fire – Laughter to cheer you And those you love near you, And all that your heart may desire!” – Irish Blessing
In many ways, it was like a scene right out of a movie. We had entered into a small local pub, tired and hungry from a long day of traveling in the cold, rainy winds of an Irish November. We had stumbled blindly through the dark, a five-minute walk from our hotel along a narrow, winding road set amidst rolling hills.
There were just two other people in the pub, visitors, like us, evidenced by the large, worn backpacks towering next to their table. The bartender greeted us warmly and we asked if he had a menu for food.
“We do, but the kitchen is about to close,” he said. “We only have homemade beef stew and seafood chowder.” We ordered one of each, two pints of Guinness and sat down at a tableside fire for what was to be one of the most memorable stops on our two-week long journey. Read more
“In the middle of the Pacific ocean where East meets West, Is an Island of fire and ice, Home of the volcano and doorway, To another dimension and a different reality. Here magic lives, Where the Earth herself liquefies and nothing is quite as it seems.”
–Pila of Hawaii
March, a month signaling the budding of a new season, is a time for “Spring” breaking – students breaking from the tiresome cycle of classroom lectures and late night studying, adults breaking from a grueling schedule of business meetings and client deadlines, and all of us breaking from the cold, dark days of winter.
Many will break away to the coast of Florida, some maybe to the Caribbean, still others to far-off destinations. But here at ATG, we’ve always “breaked” at an island (Hilton Head Island) – an island with windswept beaches, transcendent sunrises (see below), and a soothing calmness felt in the warm, sand swirling winds.
Its beauty and serenity has kept us returning for more than 30 years, replenishing, restoring and reinvigorating our vitamin-D deprived souls. Read more
There are many reasons to applaud football icon Peyton Manning for the speech he delivered earlier this week announcing his retirement from the NFL.
Delivered with grace and humility, it stands in stark contrast to the dastardly dialogue and vindictive language that we continue to hear during what is bound to be one of the most significant presidential elections in American history.
For football fanatics, his speech was a testimony to the greatness of the game and the ability of any player to rise, against any and all odds, on any given Sunday. For Peyton Manning’s fans, it was bound to confirm their fervent admiration and respect for an athlete who has role modeled hard work, dedication and integrity throughout his 18-year career. Read more
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings*
We arrived at the little inn in the tiny village of Doolin*, near the Cliffs of Moher, in the thick darkness of late evening, weary and hungry from traveling all day in the cold, rainy winds of an Irish November. With few options for replenishment, we stumbled back into the darkness, down the narrow road and entered into McGann’s, the local pub whose cozy warmth and Irish hospitality would keep us returning for the following two nights.
With the luck of the Irish on our side, we arrived just before the kitchen closed, sitting down at a table side fire and enjoying a magical, memorable evening of nourishing food (the best Guinness Beef Stew we’ve had), thirst-quenching pints of “Doolin Ale” and soulful live Irish music that one can only expect in a town that has been deemed the traditional music capital of Ireland.
In the spirit of All Things Irish, we share three recipes below to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.