Hot Cross Buns

It’s officially Spring, and on days like these, I recall my mother coming home with hot-cross buns. They were proffered with a flourish and the announcement that we could have them on that day, that one very special day. I don’t remember, however, why or which day was so unique. And we were indeed allowed to have the Hot-Cross Buns on that day alone. But those days, those days were Catholic days, and they held many a ritual glory. When I close my eyes I see white ribbed socks turned over to measured perfection above black patent-leather shoes, yellow tulips in the center of the dining room table, a decanter of coffee and small plates next to them.

The house would smell of Spring, of open windows and soft breezes, of the lace curtains that would dance in the sunlight. In those days Lent was taken seriously. Easter would be a celebration and an end to fasting and abstaining from meat. Thusly, on the Good Friday before Easter, before the celebration of the Messiah! we would acknowledge that day and the beginning of the end and the end of the beginning. We would have Hot-Cross Buns.

***

When Elizabeth the first ruled England (1592) it was decreed that hot-cross buns and other spiced breads were not to be sold other than at burials or Good Friday, or at Christmas. There was in fact a punishment for doing so—all of the forbidden baked goods were confiscated and given to the poor. James the first continued the tradition in 1603.

Poor Robin’s Almanac in 1733 published a London street cry, the first definite record of Hot-Cross Buns:

Good Friday comes this month, the old woman runs. With one or two a penny hot cross buns.

Nothing can be found for earlier records or recipes.

The more recent recipes for the baked goodies can include descriptions for the meaning or symbolism held within the ingredients. The cross itself has evolved to mostly include a sugar frosting:  confectioners’ sugar, milk, lemon zest and vanilla. This is how my newly purchased, boxed grocery-store treasure is completed. I’ll sing the song on Friday.

Hot_Cross_Buns_detail,_March_2008

—Information/background & photo from Wikipedia—

Visiting La Crosse

‘Tis the first home, the foundation. This strange little city making its way along the Mississippi River. Here’s where the memories are stored. (Some of them might be a bit waterlogged.)

Bob Good Photography Studios  A few snaps from the bike trails between Downtown La-X and the Trempealeau Hotel. Some of the City trails are currently flooded out but the Great River State Trail was amazing!

Wood Bridge

Here’s the start up…an old wood bridge to begin the trail

more on bridge

Passing on to the green

GreeneryToo

Through the green

Pond

Passing by ponds

Swamp

And Swamps

The swamps will be filled with cat-‘o-nine tails come autumn

TheGoal

Ah, the goal—time for a brew

SunsetOnLake

And then the sunset

Is there a more beautiful place? Can there be?

The ‘Ole Home Town

bobGoodGreatRiverbiketrailHolmen

Bob Good Photo Studios

Feeling very nostalgic lately. What do I mean, lately? Seems I’m always longing for a  time that was, and the magic of childhood. And it doesn’t have to be mine. Mine, my kids, my parents (from their old photos). And that place of the Spirit, feeling Hiraeth.

{Hiraeth is a wonderful, multilayered word meaning a longing to be where your spirit lives. The place where your spirit feels most at home may be a physical location that you can return to at any time, or it may  be more nostalgic of a home, not attached to a place, but a time from the past that you can only return to by revisiting old memories.}

This is a shot taken on the now bike trail that goes from La Crosse to Holmen. It used to be railroad tracks—the old Chicago And North Western railroad line. We were warned so very seriously not to play on the tracks. The big threat was the invisible & unheard train that would suddenly appear and mow you down. That and the “don’t go down to the river!” Both were of course exactly what we would do. The train tracks really gave a thrill when they were enclosed by a bridge or tunnel, where there was no escape. We stared down death at every chance.

And But Then…

It’s been a long time. At least it feels so to me. I’ve been dealing with the illness of others and the care and feeding (and hospital runs) for animals too. Everything quite came tumbling down. When I had the time I couldn’t generate the energy to come here. That’s odd too as I’d normally find this a place to hide out and indulge in contemplation as well as creation. A restorative thing.

But here we are, back at the self-appointed station. Walking through the mist as there’s no way of walking around it. Of course I don’t find this photo creepy at all. It’s beautiful and serene. It has the feel of places past, of lost centuries. A carriage could pass along here and it would be no surprise. If you look closely to the left, you’ll see someone sitting on a bench.

creepyPlaces
posted by Creepy Places
And then, here below is a photo of a barge going down the Mississippi at La Crosse.
laXtribPosted by La Crosse Tribune

There’s no connection between the upper and lower photos, I just like them both. And I’ve been away. It seems the right reason, yes?

When I was little we used to sit in the park (Riverside Park) and watch the barges go by.  This is a small one by some standards. In those days there was much more river traffic than there is now.

Bridges & Arcs

Photo from La Crosse Tribune MacGilvray road, outside La Crosse

There is something about bridges. Alone, symbolic, creating a path to another shore. Who knows what will be found there? It’s the mystery and the answer together. Any type of bridge, crossing a river, stream, lake… Any size: huge, small, and “one car at a time” for the single road.

Arcs carry their own beauty. Someone called an arc the most perfect shape in nature. Why? Half a moon—beginning and end together? The alpha and the omega in one view. From the side— especially above water where you can see the reflection—you see the whole. The light and the dark sides. The coming together of everything. Thinking of it, there’s the arc from life to death. There’s the arc of the short story. (Try writing one without an arc.) The arc of a marriage?

And here we have the bridge and the arc together. Mmmmmmmm…what thoughts can we merge?

 

Historic La Crosse

On Facebook today, spotted gems of familiar (well sort of) places. These were posted by The La Crosse Tribune.

PeterThomsonTrib

Peter Thompson Photo City Square

This is the building that once was Barron’s, as called by locals. The E.R. Barron Co. department store was where my mother worked when I was in high school. My father or I would pick her up coming out of the side door way on the back left, next to the alley, on Friday nights. Now it is the setting for several small self-contained shops.

Reflection & Syncronicity

I was reflecting on the old home town, and the photos arrived on Facebook. That is such a lovely gift from the Universe. (Although and until I’m sure that the waters did it—moving from one place to another as is its way.) The view below is of Riverside Park, where so often we went with parents and children and sometimes to eat a lunch and watch the river flow by. The view behind the eagle and the street lights is as the street moves up through the town.

bobbgood

Bob Good Photography—La Crosse, WI—Riverside Park

 

And below is the photo of the Mississippi with the La Crosse bridge in the background. With the bridge seen from this perspective you can see how the one-way pattern of each blends together to create a lovely picture. That effect cannot be captured when viewed directly with the traffic flow. The photo was taken from the back of a boat so that is the wake from the motor that we see curving out behind the boat, in front of the bridge. Another lovely merging of arcs. Viewed as a whole, it appears to form a circle. The river, the bridge, the sky.

bobgoodPhoto

Bob Good Photography—Mississippi River Bridge—La Crosse