point of view

I was reading something the other day and saw the acronym POV and had no idea what it stood for. I didn’t dwell on it. After all, it took months for me to realize what POTUS referred to. I figured POV was also something political and could wait. And then, literally coming out of a dream this morning as I was waking up, the words ‘point of view’ floated through my consciousness. Ah. There it was. And once I saw it, I couldn’t shake it. The three words kept scrolling through my brain, like a neon sign in Times Square. What is this? Is there a point of view I needed to embrace or that I am blind to?

Now, as I sit here taking in the luscious spring morning, I feel a familiar ache. To be immersed in such beauty and such abundance comes with an overwhelming, tight in the throat, heart thumping, desire to be out there and fully immersed. My point of view as a single woman living alone with my two canine companions, on a sacred piece of land, puts me in direct relationship with every living thing in such a clear way. At this time of year, when the tipping point between sleeping and waking has moved into the world of sparkling green, I struggle to flow with what is newly alive instead of remaining staunchly rooted in the past. I want to identify with the lone cardinal seeking new ground in the weeping cherry outside my kitchen window,

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or the lone trillium that is rooted at the edge of the brook,

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both bright red and singularly immersed in the season. One can fly away at a moment’s notice. The other is there to stay. It is large and established. It would take a ferocious flow of flooding water to uproot this plant. And yet, each of their points of view is surely one of glorious peace, being in the heart of what matters.

I wonder at the significance of seeing my first moose after all these years. It was a few nights ago, dusk, I was within a few miles of my home, and my headlights caught the back end of a very large slow moving animal that has just crossed the road. I turned to take in the full measure of the characteristic antlers and rounded form of this iconic animal, as if in a dream, it was there, and then it was gone. But I had seen it. It’s power and magic had entered my awareness.and I drove the rest of the way home in a daze. “Moose medicine is often found in elders who have walked the Good Red Road and have seen many things in their Earth walk” (Jamie Same Medicine Cards pp. 82) My own progress in life already has such history, and yet I was also still like a little kid, eager to keep learning too. The need for finding balance between wisdom and accomplishment would always be there, would always be the center for my point of view.

My body responded with the need for feeling rooted and grounded in a new way. It felt counterintuitive. It has been a long time since I have eaten beef. I do only on rare occasions, and only when it is a cut from the local grass fed stock that is raised in my own community. I bought a package of ground beef from a local farm the other day. I rejected all images of Bolognese, meatloaf, Spanish rice, or hamburgers. I had a refrigerator full of fresh greens, including ramps I harvested myself from the woods. I had mushrooms, one last onion, and one last sweet potato. Cans of coconut milk in the cupboard. I would make a curry** that combined the need for grounding into this season, with the transformation that would come from bringing all these elements together with heat and thoughtful tending.

What resulted was a melting flavorful pot of unexpected. What a treat. When the sweet potato cooked down to a point of dissolving completely into the sauce, I knew I had a keeper. After hours of simmering, even the ground beef was tender and melt in your mouth luscious. This slow cooked delight gave me four hearty meals. It had the power to root me in to a place that allowed my point of view to open fully to the outside, after all these months of being turned inside.

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**Spring Beef Curry

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
10-12 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 large bunch tender greens (chard, spinach, ramps), coarsely chopped
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
Curry powder (approx. 2 tablespoons)
Ground fennel (approx. 2 teaspoons)
Salt & pepper to taste

Choose a dutch oven type pot to cook in. Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add mushrooms, stir over high heat until mushrooms give up liquid, add a splash of water, cover and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes.

Uncover, turn heat back to high, add ground beef, breaking it up with wooden spoon as it browns. When fully browned, add spices, stir over high heat for a minute or so. Add sweet potatoes, stir some more until everything is well coated. Add coconut milk. Bring to gentle boil, cover, and simmer on lowest heat for hours.

After a couple of hours, add the greens, cover and continue cooking. The longer it cooks, the more tender the beef becomes, and eventually the sweet potato will break down and thicken the sauce. Adjust spices as desired. Serve with rice or bread of choice and a crisp green salad.

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