Living a few miles inland from the Atlantic, I’ve learned a few things when it comes to fresh fish. Just be sure to stock up on lemons and melted butter and maybe a few spices and fresh parsley.
Cod. Once available in unbelievable quantities, it’s become scarcer and costlier. Still, it’s classic – especially as scrod.
Haddock. Makes a great sandwich or flaky fish ’n’ chips.
Monkfish. Like lobster tail.
Dayboat dogfish shark. It’s a favorite in England for fish and chips. A different texture than haddock. Nothing like a little variety, right?
Trout. You don’t have to be near an ocean.
Salmon. Now we’re talking.
Striper, so I’ve heard. This one’s purely for sport fishermen and their friends and family. Or the cormorants and osprey and bald eagles that follow them upriver.
Flounder. We have some good species at hand.
Dabs or American Plaice. Now we’re into a cooperative program to protect the local marine resources through more responsible practices. These less popular but more populous alternatives make for fine fresh eating.
Hake, flounder, pollock, or king whiting. Ditto, ditto, ditto, and, yes, ditto. Depending on the week they come in.
For details on some of these, check out the New Hampshire Community Seafood site. The cooperative’s introduced us to some delicious but largely unknown species that are abundant in our own waters, and it’s devoted to sustainable community.
When it comes to fish and shellfish, what are your favorites? Any special way of preparing them, too?
High Summer arrives … gloriously, breaking the oppression of July. Days and nights are nearly perfect.
Annual week of sessions at New England Yearly Meeting.
Homegrown tomatoes. Who needs bacon? Good bread and mayonnaise set them off perfectly. I add a dash of Old Bay in memory of Baltimore.
Lobster prices come down.
Same-day corn on the cob. Boil it in the same water before or after the lobster. Eat both in the Smoking Garden, where a mess is quite easy to clean up.
Apples and peaches at Butternut Farm.
Body surfing at Long Sands.
Two weeks of swimming laps in the city’s 50-meter outdoor pool while the indoor pool undergoes annual maintenance. On my backstroke, especially, I watching for bald eagles in the distance or count the contrails of jetliners heading for Logan – one a minute.
Instead of a profusion of birdsong in the morning, it’s now crickets fiddling in the night, starting a crescendo that will end only with the first killing frost.
Well, I’ve been mentioning some of my favorite flowers in seasonal lists. My wife has really opened my eyes to the range before us. And that means we have enough others to generate a list of their own.
Flax or cornflower. The intense blue.
Tulips. Memories of Camden, Maine.
Tithonium. Its intense color is a magnet for pollen-seekers.
In Quaker organizational structure, the ultimate decision-making body is the Yearly Meeting – so named because of its annual sessions. While the central event is the convocation, the organization itself (also called the Yearly Meeting) has ongoing activities and committee meetings throughout the year. One of the purposes of the gathering is simply to coordinate and nurture these missions.
Unlike some denominations, we have no central headquarters. Our Yearly Meetings are rather distributed across the country and the globe, and these bodies work together through cooperative affiliations, shared projects, communication, and inter-visitation.
My local Friends Meeting is part of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, the oldest such body in the world. In fact, when more than 800 people – representatives, their spouses, and children – assemble next month on the Castleton University campus in Vermont, it will be our 358th gathering. (Until 1905, we met in Newport, Rhode Island. Since then, we’ve moved around New England.)
Here are some reasons I attend, whenever possible.
It’s inspiring. I’m reenergized and refreshed by the daily devotion of some very dedicated Friends I’ve come to treasure over the years. Some of them are deeply involved in peace and social justice work. For others, it’s environmental or economic. And still others, it’s radical theology. For all, it’s rooted in a shared faith.
It’s challenging. My assumptions are tested from alternative perspectives and actions are questioned in rounds of profound introspection and spiritual direction – something that’s ultimately cleansing and refreshing.
The Bible Half-Hour. Each year a respected Friend is invited to discuss selected Biblical texts and stories in the half-hour right after breakfast each morning. Last year we spent 2½ lively hours on a single sentence from Romans. It’s rarely anything you’d expect to hear from a pulpit but rather a personal journey that’s an eyeopener in more ways than one.
We’re always eating. Or so it seems. Dorm food was never like this back when I was in college – it’s gotten so much better. The reality is that we’re usually lingering over animated conversations, sometimes at a table set aside for a specific topic or group focus.
The clerking. Crucial to the success of Quaker business is the skill of our clerks. At Yearly Meeting, this means the presiding clerk, two recording clerks who are minuting our deliberations, and two reading clerks. Since we arrive at decisions without ever taking a vote and still face crowded agendas, clerking is a unique art. Time after time, what I observe is the best. Admittedly, though, sometimes it can be trying – very trying.
Few of our Meetings include music as part of our worship, but Yearly Meeting has times that reveal the amazing voices and talents in our midst. These can be emotionally moving.
Workshops and “opportunities.” Tucked into each day are short presentations, discussions, or even documentaries based on particular interests Friends carry. These can be anything from parenting and child care to Mideast peace to nomadic reindeer herders to new publications to theology or history. I hate it when three or four at the same time compete for my attention.
Just good to get away. It’s a unique kind of vacation. Who could possibly complain about driving across New Hampshire and Vermont, for instance? Period.
The contacts. This means reconnecting with incredible people and being introduced to more – individuals I’m likely to be working with somewhere in the future, and perhaps even in the past. I’m often surprised when someone I don’t recognize says, “I remember when you …” So far, it’s always been in a positive light.
We’re building on a revolutionary foundation. The Quaker movement emerged in the upheavals of mid-1600s Britain, one of the most incredible periods in history when it comes to social, economic, political, and religious breakthroughs. Being part of a group central to that legacy and its continuing advances is both humbling and exciting, especially in the face of the difficulties of our own time.
Is there a similar assembly – maybe a camp? – that you like to attend for similar reasons? What is it? And why?