Weekend Meditation: March Inspiration

Main Entry: in_spire
Function: verb

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French inspirer, from Latin inspirare, from in + spirare: to breathe

transitive verb
1 a: to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence b: to spur on c: to draw forth or bring out d: to affect
2 a archaic: to breathe or blow into or upon b archaic: infuse (as life) by breathing

The question for me right now is how to infuse, enliven, and animate my life at this transitional, still-winter time. How to breathe into, awaken and connect in such a way that I feel energized and creative.

Many religions and cultures still celebrate the New Year in March, which in some ways makes more sense than January 1. March is the month where something sleeping starts to stir and wake up, a month of transitions and beginnings. In like a lion, out like a lamb.

We have the green of St. Patrick's Day, the spring equinox and day-light savings, and Toast Day on March 23rd to celebrate the creation of Melba Toast by Auguste Escoffier for opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. (No lie.)

Not to mention, Pi (pie!) day on March 14th.

Still, March is a challenging month for most of us, even in the more temperate climates. Winter, tenacious and dreary, still clutches us in its chilly grip while spring is just a young wispy thing, dancing in on an occasional soft, warm breeze and teasing us with gradually brighter evenings. The piles of snow and endless layers of clothing butt up against the first crocuses, pea shoots and green garlic, dreams of asparagus and cherries.

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To keep the blues away, I'm planning on making a version of Tammy's Cream of Shallot Soup this afternoon, only using green garlic instead of the shallots as a nod to the coming spring. It's a rich soup, so I'll serve it with a salad of bitter greens like escarole and bright orange mandarin slices, and a big loaf of fresh-baked bread. Dessert will be a nice chocolate bar, casually broken up at the table and cups of fresh mint tea.

Also, I highly recommend buying as many bunches of daffodils as you can afford and scattering them everywhere. Bright, sassy yellow blossoms trumpeting the spring to come.

How do you remain inspired in March? What breathes life into your kitchen right now? What makes it all bearable for just a few more weeks?

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Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.