Suddenly the streets were filled with kids playing basketball, bicyclists riding in twos and threes, laughing and giggling as they passed under leafless trees, making their way down to the beach. It was as if everyone just woke up, bright eyed and eager. I spent my sunny day outside with my kids working in the yard. The dogs rolled around in the grass and chased squirrels while we dug up bulbs and moved them from the front of the house where they were imperiled by construction, to a safer spot in the back. We were dirty and sweating, and it felt marvelous. There's just something amazing that happens when springtime finally hits, and what we see in the birds and squirrels, the groundhogs and bunnies, we can feel it inside ourselves as well. Life feels lighter, brighter, and full of endless possibility.
As we all awaken from our winter slumber, August & Scout is awakening, too. We have introduced our new Edi-Bowls. A wonderfully tasty and healthy bowl of happiness made from acai or coconut puree, blended to the consistency of soft serve sorbet and topped with house baked granola, fruit, and honey. As we worked out the recipes in the dead of winter, we named each after a Manasquan beach, helping us remember that winter is temporary, and soon spring will come to usher in sunny days and sandy feet. We have also opened our spring Artist In Residence show. A series of paintings, drawing and photographs titled She Does Not Speak by performance artist Oleariam, a local whose parents are regular customers of the bakery (she now lives on my old West Village block in New York City, such kismet!) Her paintings are ethereal, in colors that beckon spring, and her photographs are a reflection of youth and possibility. The opening on Saturday seemed to send the rain and cold running, overtaken by the warm laughter and creativity that pushed out of the shop and into the misty street.
We know April will be full of rain. And that's okay because it will be the kind of rain that turns the grass green and pulls the leaves from slumbering trees. Spring has arrived. There's no turning back. She's here to walk us steadily towards summer, bringing with her morning bird songs and flowering crocus'. Can't wait to see all of you out in the neighborhood!
little bit, at least) about the holiday. I discovered the day initially was one of sharing letters and hand written poems with the one you loved. These letters and poems were at times beautifully romantic, sometimes utterly gut wrenching, and other times full of humor. As a Writing and Literature major, I found this idea of the day to be appealing. A chance to put into your own words how someone makes you feel, how they affect your life, how they broadened what you thought you knew of the world and your own heart.
In a letter to his wife, Zelda, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote "You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known- and even that is an understatement." And Zelda once wrote to him, “Why is there happiness and comfort and excitement where you are and no where else in the world?”
The great poet Rumi wrote, "In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art." And he most humorously wrote, "Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, and absent-minded." A clear nod to the rush of seemingly glorious insanity that arrives when falling in love.
But one of my most favorite quotes about love comes from the writer Alice Walker who wrote, “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.”
This line taught me so much about myself, and the way I viewed Valentine's Day. We all seek to love and be loved. And from an early age, when we're dropping those little Valentine's Day cards into fellow students mail boxes, to trying to book dinner reservations and think of the perfect gift thirty years later, we worry about love; if we're doing it right, if we show it the right way, if it's good enough, if we're good enough. The moment I realized I could stop worrying about love, and instead be completely open to it, was when I truly became a fan of Valentine's Day. It liberated me to honoring it as a day about all the love there is to give and receive throughout life, not just between lovers, but friends, parents, siblings, colleagues. And now, as a mom, I excitedly prepare little Valentine's packages for my kids with a handwritten note acknowledging the unique things I cherish and love about them, a sea shell we collected together or a memento from a trip, and of course their favorite baked goodies. I've learned not to worry about love, but to honor it, welcome it, and gleefully feel it in all its beautifully messy glory.
So, this Valentine's Day, I invite you to grab a pen and write someone you love a little note. Don't worry about it being perfect. Just let it be from the heart. And I'm pretty sure you'll find that love is most perfect when expressed and honored in perfectly imperfect ways.
and reading the New Yorker (which has the best cartoons). I find my eclectic reading habits lead me to the most amazing stories and philosophies by some pretty incredible people. With the new year having arrived, I've decided my one resolution would be to follow the idea behind a quote I recently stumbled upon by the legendary basketball player and coach, John Wooden:
"You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
I'd like to create as many perfect days as possible by doing things for people who cannot repay me.
I recently heard a news story about a restaurant in Madrid called Robin Hood. The concept is each meal purchased provides a meal to the homeless, inside the restaurant and served by wait staff. There are two seatings per night of fifty homeless people each. I was taken by those who dined there, talking about how knowing their meal provided a meal to someone in need, made the meal that much more special. And I was brought to tears when several of the homeless said that being given a meal with nice cutlery on a clean table by professional waitstaff gave them dignity and companionship they very rarely felt throughout their day. The beauty lies in the fact that the business owner, Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, and paying patrons will never be repaid for their generosity and act of kindness. But they do it anyway, because a perfect day happens when you do something for someone who can never repay you.
I've always believed the good we do comes back threefold and that it has a ripple effect reaching far beyond ourselves and the small circles we exist within. Our goal at August & Scout is to be a part of the community and to be a concientious participant in doing good. Not just from the ingredients we use and products we make, but in how we give back to the community who supports and surrounds us. Our first project for 2017 will be the Community Give Back. A program for all of our customers to join in allowing them to determine a community orgnaization that will receive a donation of up to $500 from August & Scout. We've broken it down to four categories: Health, Community, Art, Education. So when you are handed a playing card after your puchase, place it in the box under the category you would like to see receive this month's donation. All donations will be made in the name of "The Customers of August & Scout." and posted on our chalkboard wall. And perhaps, without even truly noticing, our perfect days will be frequent because of the good we can accomplish together. As Maya Angelou once wrote, we can "Be a rainbow in someone's cloud."
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy 2017 full of perfect days and rainbows.
More on Robin Hood Restaurant
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