Home     Contact Us         Log in

Featured Stories - Category Archive

Aug 28
Saturday

Cherry Season

Filed under Featured Stories, Regions, Pacific Northwest

By Natalie Pascale Boisseau

Note: This piece contains sensitive content about suicide.

(French: [klafuti]; Occitan: clafotís [klafuˈtis] )

My love, when I look at the deep red cherries in the white bowl before me, the color of a sunburst heart, I become a citizen of the present moment. I forget that I am a foreigner in this country.

Through the window, the sky is blue and the red maroon roof gently paled from sun exposure. I could be from anywhere, from my native Montreal to my adopted Seattle.

My love, ever since we visited your uncle Kim and aunt Susan in the south of Los Angeles, three years ago, I have been craving clafoutis, with its baked cherries bursting with deep red sweetness activated by the sunlight. One night, when we visited, after buying a big bag of cherries, I said,“I will make dessert tomorrow. How about … clafoutis?” The word spilled from my mouth like raindrops of red sunshine.

Uncle Kim, always tied to the computer, searched for a recipe. In fact wherever one looks, on the internet or borrowed cookbooks, it is a similar recipe, simple and alive. The fruits are covered with a flan batter. It is made of eggs, milk, flour, and a little sugar.

It was something you and I have never made before. My French recipe books quietly lined up back in our home kitchen in Seattle are useless so far away south on the west coast. My mother who died from suicide when I was thirteen loved cooking for many people at all occasions. I still have all her cookbooks. Her passion for preparing a good meal and the company with loved ones, the aroma of her cooking has followed me to our home, in our marriage, in our lives in Seattle across the continent all the way from Montreal. Her cooking influences, however, have never laid clafoutis at our door.  Clafoutis is free of nostalgia, free from traumatic edges, found in the food section of the newspaper. Why clafoutis? There is nothing to heal, to regret, to walk back home to, only the promise of a vibrant red new dessert to savor, placed on a white table cloth, waiting for me, for you, for our life together, for a new world. When your uncle Kim printed the recipe, and with your brown eyes, warm, knowing, curious of my improvisation, Clafoutis crossed centuries and cultures to finally reach me.

I am touched by the simplicity of the few ingredients, as simple as a refreshing meditation with the window open, a breeze from the Pacific Ocean—the roof red and the sky as liquid blue as the ocean seen from space. As simple as the moon bathing our presence, the felt warmth of our love.

Clafoutis is a word born from the Occitan language, once spoken in the south of France, parts of Spain, Monaco and Italy. During the Middle Ages, its troubadours were inspired to invent courtly love and the language spread through Europe. They traveled from villages to cities, with inventive songs, music and revelries, jesting with truth-telling in freedom and carrying clafoutis in their wake, baked in ovens of royalty and humble peasants alike, across boundaries in constant movement.

C’est le temps des cerises goes the old French song. It is the time of cherries, of love and summer, of their elusiveness and also of loss and broken hearts. I am not really French; I am Quebecoise, and the song holds layers of colonization from the French on native land and the subsequent abandonment of the colony to British occupation. The song celebrating the cherry time alludes to the French Revolution, the fratricidal blood of concitoyens, fellow citizens, that was spilled, and the bitter sweetness of the peace that followed, with the yearning for that peace to heal terrible wounds.

The loving melancholy of the song and of cherries never reached me until now. I was never in tune with June, the cherry season in Quebec, growing up after my mother’s suicide. It was early spring in Montreal and I was thirteen years old, a girl on the cusp of changes. June followed my mother’s death, and my mother’s death came the year after my dear uncle’s suicide. Grief has always visited me in early spring returning every year, stretching through my life like a never-ending winter.

Cerises is a word full of joy,  but my loving mother had deserted me. Suicide is a war, and blood is spilled. How can one feel lightness and rejoice in the flaking beauty raining down, the first petals white turning rose with bloody infusion? Or enjoy eating the cherries harvested so far away from my native province, in Ontario or British Columbia? No, I had no awareness of the seasons of cherries and blossoming trees. I kept cherry joy at bay, my horizon limited to the small seasonal familiar strawberries of Quebec, with intense flavor, easily at reach as I walked in the field with my two brothers,  their heavy soothing little heads lowered toward the ground. Our young bodies followed as we picked their sweetness one by one. Une par une was all I could do after my mother died.
Continue…

Entries filed under Featured Stories


20th Anniversary of the Sakyong's Enthronement

20th Anniversary of the Sakyong’s Enthronement – HIGHLIGHT

This May marks the twentieth anniversary of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche enthronement as Sakyong. The Shambhala Times will be marking the occasion by featuring several archived articles published in local newspapers that covered the events. Our first featured article is from The Chronicle Herald on May 15, 1995. continue
Posted February 20, 2015 by Dan
Year of the Wood Sheep

Year of the Wood Sheep – HIGHLIGHT

Two astrologers in the community, Shastri Matthew Lyon and Erik Blagsvedt, share their perspective on the new year. Shastri Matthew Lyon: Visualize a verdant pasture where the green fertile grasses flow toward the horizon in pastoral splendor. A flock of sheep, peaceful and unhurried, grazes, comforted by the ... continue
Posted February 19, 2015 by Dan
Farewell, Wood Horse

Farewell, Wood Horse – HIGHLIGHT

Shambhala Times Updates from the Inside Out Editor’s Column by Sarah Lipton Shambhala Times Editor-in-Chief It’s been a woody, wild, productive year. A big, powerful, busy year full of fresh energy. You’ll see more about that in the Shambhala Day Year in Review video on Monday on the Shambhala Times. ... continue
Posted February 18, 2015 by Sarah
Lots of Invitation

Lots of Invitation – HIGHLIGHT

An Interview with Jane Arthur Ms. Jane Arthur was just appointed by the Sakyong as the Kalapa Envoy for Leadership Training and Mentorship. She will hold a seat on the Kalapa Council and will work with the Sakyong and Mr. Richard Reoch to develop and implement a ... continue
Posted February 17, 2015 by Dan
I Do?

I Do? – HIGHLIGHT

Love, Buddhism and Marriage Vows by Susan Piver originally published on the Huffington Post Last week, we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Twelve years. Long enough to have some sense of what we’ve gotten ourselves into. Not long enough to know what to do with it all. As we ... continue
Posted February 14, 2015 by
Richard Reoch Looks Ahead

Richard Reoch Looks Ahead – HIGHLIGHT

outgoing president Richard Reoch in his “office” at the Tenno Room in HalifaxThe Sakyong has announced changes to the governing structure of Shambhala. This includes reintegrating the position of president back into the seat of the lineage holder. Shambhala Times asked outgoing president Richard Reoch, who ... continue
Posted February 9, 2015 by
The Necessity of Fierceness

The Necessity of Fierceness – HIGHLIGHT

COLUMN: Radical Compassion Interview with Jerry Colonna, Chair of the Board at Naropa University conducted by Cameron Wenaus of retreat.guru and Sarah Lipton, Editor-in-Chief of the Shambhala Times transcribed by Emma Sartwell and edited by Christopher Schuman Fierceness is a necessary component for working with the self. When we ... continue
Posted February 2, 2015 by
An Ode to Pink Laundry

An Ode to Pink Laundry – HIGHLIGHT

photo credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker via photopin ccShambhala Times Updates from the Inside Out Editor’s Column by Sarah Lipton Shambhala Times Editor-in-Chief I have a big surprise for you: I’m about to hatch a baby! Embarking on this new journey towards motherhood, I sigh and cry when babies’ first ... continue
Posted February 1, 2015 by Sarah
Compassionate Exchange

Compassionate Exchange – HIGHLIGHT

…an Active Ingredient in Cultivating Good Relations by Acharya Melissa Moore and Shastri Sandra Ladley You know what it’s like when you walk into work, your home, or a friend’s house and you notice that your colleague, partner or friend appear to be in a bad mood? What ... continue
Posted January 30, 2015 by
Next Steps: Europe

Next Steps: Europe – HIGHLIGHT

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in Berlin, ßmannShambhala Times is pleased to share this news update: Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has written to all our European members to share his “thoughts and vision for the future of Shambhala in Europe.” Reflecting the growing diversity of the countries and cultures of ... continue
Posted January 28, 2015 by
Decency Is the Absence of Strategy

Decency Is the Absence of Strategy – HIGHLIGHT

Snowy Sunrise,COLUMN: Dispatches from the Front Lines Dispatches from the Front Lines is a new column designed to support the many Shambhalians currently experiencing upheaval at their centers and groups. It is specifically intended to penetrate the sense of isolation common to these painful situations, and to ... continue
Posted January 26, 2015 by
Vulnerability and Humor

Vulnerability and Humor – HIGHLIGHT

The wooden hammer is called a han (from the Zen tradition) used to call to meditation. The slogan at the top reads: “Great is the matter of life and death. Awake! Awake! Don’t waste time!”Exploring Life at Gampo Abbey by Emma Cataford, Shambhala Times Regional Correspondant with assistance ... continue
Posted January 14, 2015 by
Exploring Receptivity

Exploring Receptivity – HIGHLIGHT

On Contemplative Practice, Receptivity, and Spiritual Activism COLUMN: Radical Compassion Interview with Adam Bucko conducted by Cameron Wenaus of retreat.guru and Sarah Lipton, Editor-in-Chief of the Shambhala Times transcribed by Emma Sartwell, edited by Christopher Schuman It can be difficult to find a place of receptivity in prayer and meditation. But ... continue
Posted January 2, 2015 by
The Origins of Iliana

The Origins of Iliana – HIGHLIGHT

The Shambhala Times wishes you all a delightful celebration of Children’s Day! interview with Walter Fordham by Sarah Lipton, Shambhala Times Editor-in-Chief The renowned meditation master and social visionary Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche established Children’s Day in 1979 for his western students and their children. The holiday, which took place ... continue
Posted December 21, 2014 by
Purpose is the New Profit

Purpose is the New Profit – HIGHLIGHT

The Awakening of Business by Iektje van Bolhuis, Austin, Texas It might seem strange to write an article about enlightened society and business. In many ways the two seem to be contradictory. Indeed, many of the major problems we face in this dark age can be traced back ... continue
Posted December 6, 2014 by

RSS feed for the Featured Stories category

View all posts from authors in Featured Stories: natasha_west



Website Development by Blue Mandala using Wordpress MU.
All content and source Copyright © 1994-2021. Shambhala International (Vajradhatu), Shambhala, Shambhala Meditation Center, Shambhala Training, Shambhala Center and Way of Shambhala are registered service marks of Shambhala USA
Privacy Policy
Translate »