“…..and,” said the audiologist, “if you get a smart phone, you can even pick up telephone messages through your hearing aids!”
“I can’t imagine anything more HORRIFIC,” I blurted out.
We looked at each other, both startled. Where did that come from?
“You don’t have to answer,” he ended lamely.
I left the appointment, got into my car, and hardly noticing the home-again traffic, picked over that sudden answer, surging out from a gut-filled belief I’d never noticed before. Horrific it most definitely was, but why?
Meditation has entered my life, with all its healing qualities, for the past several years. With it the need for, and respect for, silence. And of course, meditation brings a revelation of how un-silent my brain can be, even when it is in repose. That in itself is an exercise that brings delight and serenity but will take a lifetime to achieve. Any nano-second of truly silent meditation along the way is called “progress”.
However, I was also becoming more aware of the gifts of silence that are offered in daily life, and these are increasingly treasured:
- The silence of a mountain, just being there.
- The silence as a dear friend – preferred introvert – searches through her thoughts before choosing what she wants to share.
- The heart-gripping silence of expectation before the final “Amens” in Handel’s Messiah
- The silence immediately after a humming motor is turned off.
- The silence before Dawn’s first bird sings
- The unmoving hush of the Two Minutes’ Silence on Remembrance Day
- The silence of a forest
- Walking through the countryside .
That’s IT! That was what I was afraid of losing – the silence of walking! How could I ever want to take a phone with me! The jarring tension of waiting to see if anyone texted or phoned, would break crashingly into the stillness of Nature! To have hearing aids that relentlessly relentlessly enslaved me into telephone obedience would shatter all healing and peace. I love hearing from people, I really do. But I must have my silent times as well. They are more real, more tangible, than the absence of noise, just as peace is far more than the absence of war. Perhaps that’s what happened in the audiologist’s office. Perhaps I suddenly realized how sacred, how cherished, is Silence itself.
Roasted Carrot Soup Puree
This, dear recipe-readers, offers you plenty of freezer space, because you don’t add much liquid, until you are about to serve the soup. Roasting the carrots blossoms into a flavour far richer than your normal carrot soup. The colour is more of a desert sunset rather than a cheery tangerine tone.
(BUT FIRST, a note about using your oven: we’re all trying to save energy, so when you are roasting the carrots, be sure that other oven shelves are used as well. We have found it useful to pierce the skin of a butternut squash or pumpkin in several places — to avoid explosion — and bake them soft on foil, on a lower shelf. Scooping out the cooked interior for pies, mash, and other soups saves a lot of time. You can also dry your breadcrumbs. Toast your croutons. Even whip up a mac-cheese for a later meal. May that trip to your oven be wholly worthwhile!)
Step 1. Prepare a roasting tray of 1 ½ lbs carrots, peeled and sliced. Drizzle with oil. Throw in an onion, if you wish, but I prefer to cook the onions gently with the spices in Step Two. Place in a hot oven and roast until they are slightly caramelised, turning occasionally to give every piece a chance to boast its own bronzeness.
Step 2. Remove from the roasting pan, and pour the leftover pan oil, now golden with carotene, into a largish frying pan. Add two onions, chopped, into the oil, with a clove of garlic or two, and cook gently until the onions are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Now add 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, a pinch of crushed peppers (optional) and two crushed vegetable stock cubes to the onions. Stir them in and keep stirring until the spices are fragrant. Add the roasted carrots and pour in boiling water until just under the surface of the carrots. Bring to boil, and simmer until carrots are soft enough to puree smoothly.
Step 3. Cool slightly. Using a food processor, puree until you have a thick paste. Now it’s ready to turn it into soup at your slightest whim. For a quick snack, place a glop of it in a cup (1 – 2 tablespoons), add boiling water, stir well. Perhaps dash in a swirl of cream. Or make it a proper share-able soup with finely chopped coriander, parsley and/or spring onions, plus other cooked vegetables crying out to join in a hearty meal.
I packaged mine up into one-person servings and tucked them into the freezer.
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