To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
Robert Herrick, 1591-1674
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
While I disagree that virgins have anything they need to rush into (nobody’s prime is based on their appearance or their sexual value, and it’s not as if sex is the pinnacle of human experience,) I do feel like the overall feeling of the poem is relevant right now. One thing that quarantine has driven home to me in a way that I didn’t expect is my experience of the changing of the seasons. Being limited to my home and its surroundings, I’ve paid attention to how subtly the outdoors changes day by day more than I ever have before.
Another thing I’ve rediscovered is the delight of roadside farm stands. They’re outdoors and generally not crowded, so they offer less risk than going to a supermarket might; and you can also get fresher, riper produce of better quality. In summer, this offers a bounty of fresh, delicious, inexpensive produce… but. This is another thing where the passage of time is evident. What’s in season can vary by month, or even by week. You need to take advantage of what is available now.
I’m learning to appreciate what is in front of me while it’s there, I guess, is what I mean to say. It’s been a profound experience to reflect upon.
So – short story long – that is why, even though I have the Regency bonnet pattern here finally and many of the supplies are arriving, I took a detour, in the form of a blueberry pie.
I’m sure it’s different elsewhere, but here in Pennsylvania, it’s pretty clear that summer is waning, and that means fresh, local blueberries are, too. So when I got my hot little hands on a few pounds of fresh blueberries, I knew a pie was in order.
I made a homemade crust (2 c flour, 6 Tbsp butter, pinch of salt, 3 Tbsp cold water; mixed in the food processor until it just barely sticks together,) let it chill for 30 minutes, and then blind-baked it for 7 minutes at 400F while I assembled the filling. The filling is a simple fruit filling (5 c blueberries, 1 tsp fresh lemon zest, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 c flour, 1/2 c sugar; mixed by hand), and the crumb topping is my grandmother’s tried-and-true crumb topping that I use on everything (3/4 c flour, 2/3 c sugar, 8 Tbsp butter, pinch salt; blended with a pastry blender to a coarse crumb). I baked the assembled pie for 40 minutes at 375F, et voila. Simple, but I’m told by my son (who has already attacked it) that it’s delicious.
Next up is my usual Sunday sourdough bread using the King Arthur Flour recipe I love so much. I made a batch yesterday, but I wasn’t pleased with how it turned out, so I’m having a do-over today. We’ve got a lot of fresh tomatoes around from our farm stand shopping, so I’ve been eating as many fresh tomato sandwiches as I can stomach.
Gather ye produce while ye may.