David and I have so enjoyed our reunion after nearly three weeks apart due to my trip to Pennsylvania and his own two weeks of training in Arkansas. We spent this weekend hiking and enjoying delicious vegan food, mostly prepped by other people so we could relax and reconnect. Huge thanks to sweet Tania Marie for recommending Veestro, frozen, restaurant quality, preservative-free vegan meals and juices delivered to our door on Friday — with lots of gluten-free options. During our resettling process, David and I decided we wanted some ease and please in the kitchen, with minimal work by either of us. Veestro has been perfect!
Yesterday, we celebrated Earth Day with some yummy veggie juices and a green smoothie while watching our Zen new groundhog, yet to be named. This little one is definitely not Kalamazoo Kal, whom I suspect our neighbors trapped and released far away at the end of last year. I had seen him late one night and felt that as a goodbye, but when this year’s groundhog first appeared, I assumed it was Kal after a winter weight loss regime. Not so! The coloring, temperament and behavior patterns are completely different.
This new groundhog alternates between meditation and yoga — I kid you not. S/he (yet to be determined) has much more feminine energy and spends most of the day basking in sunshine by the shed, perching in a fabric garden pot like a cat, or staring off into space like a star child. S/he and the robins make synchronized swimming type motions together with their heads and bodies, and watching groundhog-squirrel interactions this year mystifies as much as amuses me.
The new one has the dark tail of Tucker Rat Boy from last year — the very naughty adolescent who fortunately hightailed it ten lots down the street. Behavior wise, though, this one’s so different. S/he eats only dandelions and presumably clover once it comes out, and s/he knows exactly when we’re talking about him/her, as s/he turns to listen. The appearance also morphs between groundhog, miniature bear and a baby javelina that came to me in a dream before I went to PA. In any case, we enjoyed watching this little shapeshifter Zen master yogini while we drank our juice and smoothies.
We then headed out to Pasches Lakeside, a Battle Creek restaurant located on Goguac Lake, with water views from all windows. It felt like a very old dream I used to have of living in a house on stilts, surrounded by water on three sides. Pasches features a full two page vegan menu, and we enjoyed some down home and cajun classics turned plant based:
Above you can see BBQ tempeh “ribs” with baked beans and mac n “cheese,” alongside yummy pickles. Below shows our very first “Beyond Burger” experience on tapioca buns, with sides of fries and coleslaw. We had seen the Beyond Burgers at various health food stores in Kalamazoo but never tried them. They really do taste and look like an actual burger. It was kind of freaky — almost like very old flame broiled Burger King memories, and I especially grooved on the coleslaw. I wouldn’t call this a healthy lunch, but for an Earth Day celebration, it delighted us!
We then headed over to Fort Custer State Recreation Area, on the side by Jackson Hole Lake and Lake Whitford and Lawler. The place was beautiful and eerily quiet, almost like another dimension. As David said, “Even the streams are quiet!” We passed people, horses and mountain bikes, but somehow, the near silence remained. David took photos along the way:
When we finished our three plus walk around Lake Whitford and Lawler, I felt led to sit on a pier before heading home. David joined me, and a few minutes later, a couple ran up to us frantically looking for their lost dog. Their rat terrier had jumped out the window as they drove away after their own hike, and they had been searching for her for three hours. We promised to call them if we saw the dog, as they mentioned their cell number was on the dog collar.
We continued to sit in the sun, and I put out a gentle call and prayers for the dog. Within ten minutes or less, little “Mini,” the very wet rat terrier ran onto the pier and jumped on my lap! She snuggled and licked me, and I managed to grab hold of her collar before she bounded into that very tempting water again. David called her humans and snapped a few photos while we waited for them to return:
I ended our adventure with a happy reunion of dog and humans and a huge hug from the human mama. David’s and my day and evening continued in synchronous fashion until lights out. All in all, a beautiful Earth Day, filled with nature and little winks from the interconnected multiverse. Every day is Earth Day in my life, but it’s nice to give Mama Nature an extra special day, too.:)