Monday, December 22, 2008


I’ve been musing about soup lately. How good some of the old stand-bys like homemade chicken noodle, chili, and bean soup would taste on these true wintry days of late, how I would like to add some new concoctions to my pot-o-pleasure repertoire, and why it is I like to make soup so much?

I just really like to make soup. And eat soup. And share soup, if I have the opportunity. It’s about the only thing I really like to cook anymore…which gives me the summers off. My husband can take a chicken or any good piece of beef and make it taste like heaven on earth. But soup is my thing.

When discussing why this is so, my husband said one day, without hesitation, that it has to do with my need to build community. “What?” I asked, thinking he had totally missed the topic at hand. But then I saw that it is true, I get great joy when women gather together at Prairie Pond Woods for the purpose of reflection, inspiration and refreshment. They come, with all their different gifts and perspectives, some expectant, some frazzled from a busy week. I offer them a warm and comfortable place to unwind, connect with one another, and simmer in their own thoughts, before we gather back to share a metaphorical bowl of our inspirations, nature sightings, and prayers.

One of the joys of preparing soup is the simple trust that all the ingredients will blend together in the broth, so that when its done it is delicious, and produces a taste better than any single ingredient would. In the same way, I am always amazed, when leading a retreat or nature journaling workshop, how easily women blend together to form a community. How easily they share their hearts and bare their souls. How readily they offer comfort and encouragement to one another. How quickly tears can turn into the laughter that says, “It’ll be ok.”

I hope, as you try to keep warm this winter by piling on the layers, you’ll also consider trying to heat up from the inside, out, with a yummy pot of soup. Most genuine and lasting things happen in that direction.