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The book is better than the movie (isn’t that always true?) but the movie is pretty good. I’m talking of course about Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts. The only way that the movie beats the book is that the movie has Javier Bardem in it. And the movie made me hungry in a way that the book never did: as soon as I got home I ordered a pizza, opened a bottle of wine, and listened to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon over and over.

And it got me thinking about eating, praying, and loving in August.

Eat: Food is not really one of my joys in life (us Druids have little interest in cuisine, being as we come from a long line of picky eaters, plus I think one of my ancestors died young from his job as King Ethelred’s official food taster and that has soured all his kin on adventurous eating) but the other day I was seized with a sudden craving for angel food cake. So I made one, all for myself:

Now, if only I could figure out how to bake only the top half of an angel food cake I’d be rich. Or just a person who knew how to bake the most awesome part of an angel food cake.

Love: I love my August garden:

Pray: Us Druids don’t pray, not the way I’ve seen people pray in the movies. We don’t get on our knees, we don’t clasp our hands, we don’t squeeze our eyes shut and quake, and we sure as hell don’t address our pleas to an abstract masculine personification of the Great Spirit. Us Druids , we are literal people. We see the Great Spirit in things:

My Druid prayer, which I have to repeat daily because I’m not a very holy person and not very bright (which most days I forget to do any way) is sent out to the Great Spirit: Please let me see what you are showing me. (The please isn’t in our prayer because us Druids are beggars. It’s there because we are very polite.)

It works every time. Asking for awareness works every time. For instance, last evening I went for a walk to the local library and before I set out I asked the Great Spirit  Please let me see something I haven’t seen before on this walk to the library which I’ve done about 500 times already. And I too my camera with me: 

(So this is what the last hydrangea of 2010 looks like.)

(Zoom lens.)

(No zoom nec. The Great Spirit has a wonderful sense of humor.)

Of course, there are many other ways to bring your measly little, sniveling busy busy whiner self closer to the Great Spirit than by taking a walk to the library. You can take a drive to the grocery store, or do a load of laundry.

And the Great Spirit is capable of heavier lifting than bringing you enlightenment during a household task – in the past I’ve asked it for the impossible and have gotten it. I made a list once. I asked for happiness and I got Top Cat, who I from now on I will refer to as My Own Personal Javier Bardem.

I asked for names for my own tea, and the Great Spirit lent itself to all you clever people and gave me conniptions when it came time to pick a winner. So many great teas: Vanilla Purr (no, nothing is too twee for me) and Pathways Tea, Wanderer’s Reward(apostrophes don’t bother me at all!), Madagascar Sun Set Tea(surprisingly butterfly-like), Wander The World Tea, Done Roaming Tea, Zanzibar Fantasy (me, the sunrise, and Javier Bardem holding a tray of croissants), That Damn Tea, Oolong Island Iced Tea (which, by the way, I like so much I’d drink it hot, too), Bonnes Temps Tea…I want them all. But, there has to be only one winner…

…and the winner is :

Shelley. And her two teas: Restful Roamer and Tranquil Traveler.

I can’t wait to illustrate those teas! I’m thinking of hammocks made of sage and heather, down-filled sandals, pillows the size of steamer trunks, Javier Bardem with a Brazilian accent wearing a turquoise shirt walking towards me on a pier in Bali backlit by the setting sun…

It’s August! It could happen!

What are you going to eat, pray, and love this August weekend with the Great Spirit?

(P.S. There’s a bird in that picture of the black-eyed susans — I didn’t want you to miss that. O, Great Spirit, please let Deborah photograph the black-headed cardinal because I’ve never seen one and damn it, I’m tired of red-headed cardinals already. No offense.)

8 comments to August Eat, August Pray, August Love

  • Deborah

    Will do. As soon as I get home tomorrow. As luck (or the Great Spirit) would have it, I finally got some photos of it the day before I left. The blue jays here (Stellar’s Jays) have black heads, too.

    Glad to hear about Eat, Pray, Love the movie. Haven’t seen it yet since I flew out the day it opened & I’m visiting my brother, who cannot be moved to take in a “chick flick”

  • Janet

    Congratulations, Shelley — excellent names for Vivian’s teas.

  • Nadine

    Congratulations Shelly!

  • Thanks for making me take another look at the black-eyed susans. I did not see that pretty yellow bird the first time. I, too, am looking forward to your illustrations of those teas.

  • Jacquelyn

    I swear the first time I looked I did not see a ginger cat curled under the hosta.
    So I am having Long Island ginger tea on ice!

  • Shelley

    Thank you so much! I’m honored that you chose my tea names, and I can’t wait to see the illustrations! Your description of what you’re thinking sent me off into a delicious fantasy and I know your drawings will be even better than my imagination!

    I’m so pleased that you liked my suggestions. I had a great time thinking about you, and your book, and your cats, and tea, and trying to come up with a fun name.

    I’ll send you an email to confirm my address.

    Thank you again,

  • emily m

    now I get it: Your angel food cake was baked in the wrong PAN. Very important that you bake in specified type pan, i.e., round, tube pan Iactually calledanangel food cake pan since the tube is wider at bottom than top and after cake is baked you have to inset it upside down over a bottle so that it is a little off tyhe counter for cooling.
    Try again.

  • Deb

    Gorgeous photos. I’m a firm believer that happiness is in the little things, which don’t seem so little when you start taking notice.

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