It's been kind of noisy around here.
Lately, whenever I step outside, I can hear things like the red-naped sapsuckers calling from the woods. Leaves clicking together in the breeze. A two-foot garter snake we've taken to calling Eek (as in "Eek! There's a snake!") slithering across the backyard through piles of dessicated leaves from last Fall. I always hear its rustle before I see the quick movements of its yellow-striped body.
Then, I jump!
There's also the bullfrog who lives in the pond behind our house. He's come back this Spring and let me tell you, he's about as loud as a foghorn. When we first moved here and I was still a city girl, I used to curse his incessant bellowing, his vocal alert to the ladies in the area, reassuring them that he was, indeed, available. But what's to curse, really? He's just searching for a little happiness.
Aren't we all?
These sights and sounds have had me thinking about the small things and how if you don't pay attention, you can move through your day and miss out on them completely. How sad this would be!
Maybe it's because I live in a place with easy access to the natural world, but I find that shrinking the tangle of my mind down enough to make room for "small noticings," as the poet Sam Green calls them, makes my every day life richer.
So wherever you might be at this moment, dare to move a little more slowly. Do look up to the sky. Pause when something catches your eye. Look at it. Really look. If you take the time to "think small," you just might see --or hear-- some truly magical things.
Lemony Banana Bread Bites
These little snack bites are inspired by Heidi Swanson's Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread, which I make often since it's a favorite in our house. But this time, I didn't want a whole loaf, so I downsized them. They're tender, not overly sweet and are great for sharing. If you want to send them more into the treat territory (versus just snack), you can make a lemon glaze and spoon it over each one and let it set before eating. For the glaze, use equal parts brown sugar and powdered sugar, then stir in freshly squeezed lemon juice until it gets to the thickness of your liking.
Makes 2 dozen.
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup mashed, very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup oat flakes
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flakes, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar. In a separate bowl whisk together egg, vanilla extract, olive oil, maple syrup, banana and lemon zest. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. The mixture will be fairly wet. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow it to firm up slightly. While the mixture rests, preheat oven to 375° F.
Use a small ice cream scoop (or a spoon) to scoop and drop dough onto the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and turbinado sugar. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating halfway through. The bites are done when you feel a bit of resistance when you press down lightly on them with a fingertip.
If using glaze, cool completely before spooning over each bite.
...And speaking of small things, you can't get much smaller than the amazing creatures living inside a teaspoon of ocean water...