During the 2008 Lenten season my yoga center in Sacramento offered the 40 Days to Personal Revolution program. It was a challenging and transforming experience – daily yoga practice and meditation, journaling, mindful eating and weekly meetings. I also gave up beer and wine for the 40 days — a sacrifice that wasn’t required but seemed in the spirit of the program. Many friends asked if I stopped drinking because of Lent. I heard that question enough times that I spent time reading about the meaning and purpose of Lent, including many blog posts by those who were going through their own spiritual journey. Our motivations and reflections had a lot in common even though we approached the 40 (or 46) days from different philosophies.
This year I’m doing a modified 40 days on my own. I’m practicing and meditating daily, reading my yoga books and being mindful about all my choices, but I’m also enjoying a good beer or wine (or two) every now and then. Jay Wilson is taking it a bit deeper. He’s fasting as German monks would during Lent. He’s limiting his daily diet to water and four 12-ounce dopplebocks, the high-calorie beer style developed by monks for the Lenten season. “I will be working with both a doctor and a spiritual advisor as I attempt to tell the story of this facet of the monks’ livelihood. Eventually, there will be a book.” Of course there’s a book, my cynical side says. But I enjoy reading along with his spiritual journey.
Jay’s beer might cost more in 2012. Because of flooding in Australia and Canada, “the price of malting barley will jump by one-third, an official with the Canadian Wheat Board said. Industrial brewers are using as much as 70 per cent corn syrup these days instead of barley to get their sugar content, so a craft brewer will be affected more than a mega-brewer.” US craft brewers also buy domestic and British barley so hopefully we won’t see too much of an increase. I’m still adjusting to the increase from a few years back.
Now for a happy development in the beer world. I’m starting to see more of these beer bicycle contraptions. I’m pretty sure I saw one at Sierra Nevada when I was there, unless I’m thinking of another brewery. Bend, OR launched a Cycle Pub, “a rolling pub on wheels, that you pedal.” Considering the lively craft beer scene here in the Triangle, I expect to see one of these in Durham or Raleigh soon.
The big news in the food blogosphere is the new Google recipe search and how it shuts out many bloggers, like me, who don’t use fancy coding and widgets. Even bloggers who have self-hosted blogs, and therefore the capability to do what it takes, will have to go back and recode all their old recipes if they want them to show up in search results. This change will make it more challenging to get search results from personal food blogs, the ones that I enjoy discovering and reading. Boo.
The food world discovers Cheerwine, a North Carolina cherryish soda. I’m not usually a soda drinker but every now and then I like an A&W root beer or one of those tasty craft-brew type bottles. I hadn’t ever tried Cheerwine before moving here to NC but now it’s in my rotation too.
This week’s poem, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation, is by Mark Doty.
They lie in parallel rows, on ice, head to tail, each a foot of luminosity
barred with black bands, which divide the scales’ radiant sections
like seams of lead in a Tiffany window. Iridescent, watery
prismatics: think abalone, the wildly rainbowed mirror of a soapbubble sphere,
I don’t want to infringe on his copyright, so please visit Poetry Foundation to enjoy the rest of this read-it-and-you-can-see-it poem. You can also find this poem in Atlantis: Poems. Now I’m jonesing for some mackerel.