Sunday, April 24, 2016

Of Flute and Blossoms

Blossoms are scattered by the wind and the wind cares nothing, but the blossoms of the heart no wind can touch.
Yoshida Kenko, Japanese author and Buddhist monk (1284–1350)

Seiichi Ariga's flute carried the lovely folk melody of Rentaro Taki's Hana (Cherry Blossoms) through to the heavens this afternoon at a small recital. He sent the audience away with the message that the Japanese cherry trees in Centennial Park had just begun to bloom so I took the opportunity to walk among the trees and celebrate spring. As yet, the young buds are holding firm in the face of the cool breezes.

The Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin School in Tokyo gifted the 37 trees two years ago in honour of Hamiltonian Martha Cartmell, the first female missionary to venture to Japan where she founded the school for girls (a first) in 1884.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Beloved Bounty

Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom-- there I will give you my love.
The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my beloved.
Song of Solomon 7:12-13

While not very early, the 3 Winos +1 did arrive in the vineyards just after the Sun was over the yardarm for day two of the Get Fresh passport programme. Bees worked valiantly among the flowers to do their part in nurturing nature but the buds of this year's crops remained elusive on the vines and branches except to the most optimistic eye. I guess we are still a little early in the season.

Certainly, the Twenty Valley vintners laid every delicacy before us. Angels Gate's offering of succulent "Spicy Korean Fried Chicken Bites" on a salad of spring greens with goat cheese dressing celebrated spring along with their bubbly Archangel Chardonnay. A little further up the road, I swooned like a swallow over Fielding's "Lemon Poppy Seed Cheesecake with Rhubarb Sauce". While the pairing with their NV Sparkling Ros├ę was perfectly good, I cannot leave Fielding without a couple of bottles of their "G" wine tucked under arm. (Gew├╝rztraminer challenges my verbal skills so "G wine" it is.)

Over the two days, we sampled 24 wines and 24 delicacies from seared albacore tuna to beef bourguignon. I give thanks for the bounty of Earth, some of the best of it laid out for us today. And I give thanks for the opportunity to have such a fun and soul-nourishing weekend in the spring fresh outdoors with family. Amen.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Drinking in Spring

Drink! For this day has a special boon, which if you had known about it,
You would have hurried up with entertainment and hastened with rapture!
Ibn Sukkara al-Hashimi, Iranian poet (died 995-6)

Under warm sunny skies, the 3 Winos +1 headed into wine country to celebrate spring with Twenty Valley's Get Fresh passport programme. Winter has seemed drawn-out this year, yet the days are distinctly longer, the skies bluer, and the temperatures warmer, so put away the blues and bring out the reds and whites and celebrate!

Many of the vintages and pairings are winners, providing inspiration for summer's upcoming meals al fresco. I see so many yummy things in my future.

Live life to the fullest! Cheers!

**Al-Hashimi's poem graces a small silver wine cup in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.