I love being alone. Afternoons of quiet, being anonymous, enjoying my own company. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, but days of nothing and no one are golden. Last weekend I was reminded that as important I think solitude is, community has equal value. But they cancel each other out if you can’t find a balance.
I am part of many communities: my spiritual community, my fitness friends from the gym, my kayaking group, the voice over world, cooking circles, even the online blogging community! I am also part of a newer group, a sisterhood of women called Awakened Feminine. They hold monthly meetings and fellowship events and last weekend we were hosted on The Farm at Locusts in the Hudson Valley.
The day was so special and the beauty of the farm blew me away. I don’t think I even need to share words with you, just these stunning pictures. The environment was intoxicating! All of our senses were charged. We were right on the Hudson River bank on lush green farmland, on one of the most sunshiny days the year has offered, and surrounded by bald eagles flying over head! It was one of my favorite days ever, and I have a lot of good days.
But what made it really good? I shared it. I believe that goodness shared immediately multiplies (and sadness shared actually diminishes.) I was with old friends and new friends, all with the common thread of womanhood. In fact, I even met an extraordinary young woman, with the words Community, Solitude, and Balance tattooed on her body as reminders of their importance to her. What did I know about those things at 26?! I think I was most inspired by her that day. So inspired that I am writing these words to you.
We were given a farm tour by Olivia Kirby, who manages the land and is part of our merry band. The Awakened Feminine meeting was held under a magical weeping beech tree that was like a room; an actual 4 walls, ceiling and floor room. Under a tree. Outside. Magic. I cannot wait to go back to this paradise.
My dear friend Kate Donovan took on the task of nourishing us with snacks and treats throughout the afternoon and then crowned our perfect day with a meal that was seasonal, inspired by the guest list, and lovingly handmade. The ladies were incredibly sweet making sure I didn’t lift a finger to truly give me a day off from the kitchen. It was luxurious!
We all have different communities - the groups that share our common attitudes, beliefs, goals, interests – maybe yours is a sports team with whom you train and compete, a temple or church where you pray and chant, the members of your recovery meetings. Or you’re part of a Mommy group, an artists collective, or you’re a member of the Elks Club! Find your people. Connect. Engage. Share. Find your tribe. Multiply your goodness!
I’m sharing a recipe for the soup Kate made that day and if you would like to join her for an extensive ' farm day,' she is hosting a retreat in Italy coming up later this year!
Early Summer Chilled Asparagus Soup
adapted from epicurious
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 medium leeks, well cleaned and thinly sliced
- 3 pounds asparagus cut into 1/2" pieces
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 8 ounces fresh spinach
- chopped fresh chives for garnish
- creme fraiche for garnish
Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, 8–10 minutes. Add asparagus pieces and season with salt and pepper. Cook until asparagus is bright green and tender, 4–5 minutes. Add broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until asparagus is tender, 8–10 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly.
Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl; set aside. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Strain through prepared sieve. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons oil into soup; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Divide soup into 6 bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of chopped chives.
Thank you to the ladies of Awakened Feminine for a day that offered so much more than magical trees and delicious food. I belonged.