Tag Archive: corn maze


a-MAZE-ing MAIZE ! (with Corn Chowder recipe)

Heirloom “Glass Gem” Corn

Americans love corn….fields of it, on drives through the countryside, fat husks of it promising exquisite crunch and sweetness in personal preferences of white, yellow or a mix of both at roadside farm stands summer until early fall, large festive tied stalks of it to purchase and decorate lawns and light posts at home in the spirit of Autumn. At farms with mazes to get lost in, a favorite addition is now the corn box, in which adults and children alike lay down in the abundance of golden kernels to make “corn angels” rather than “snow angels in the medium, or with which to pretend they are sifting endless bounty of golden wealth like fine gems.

 

Indeed, corn is a symbol of bounty in today’s modern world…but it is a very old cereal grain dating back thousand and thousands of years. Data varies but archeological research puts corn’s ancestor…a grass called teosite..as being present on the planet for 80,000 years and cultivated by humans in its ancient to modern forms for at least 7,000 years.

Over that span of time..vast experiments with and improvement in that a-maiz-ing plant has made it one of the most well-known and useful crops on the planet today, used for a variety of food and commercial products.

There are SO many kinds of corn grown for different purposes. The most well known varieties grown today are Flint Corn (sometime called Indian Corn) used for decorative purposes with its many colors of red, gold, orange, brownish and white kernels. Dent Corn (“field corn”)  is what we see mostly along road-side fields and in huge tracks of plantings (and I suspect in the corn mazes), it’s main uses as livestock feed, bio-fuel, and commercial food additives and industrial products. Sweet corn is the one we use as food, bringing us delicious flavor and brightness during our warm summers and early fall. Varieties of sweet corn have their champions…some love the yellow sweet corn, or the Silver Queen white sweet corn, or..my favorite… butter and sugar sweet corn  with it’s combination of pearly white and pale yellow kernels.

I think one of the reasons we so love corn is because it is an old food, with stories and myths around it that connect us to our common ancient roots as humans inter-facing with the natural world. It is a REAL food that is sacred to indigenous peoples of both North and South America (it’s first natural home). It is NOT a Pringle. It is FOOD…and food is what sustains all of us no matter where we live, or what political party or religion we belong to.

For this reason, corn is a symbol of the playfulness and imagination of the natural world, its evolving co-creation process with humanity, and the blessings of the gods, Mother Earth and the Great Spirit. It is a Holy/Whole-ly Plant. And we do give thanks for its a-MAIZING-gifts to us.

Let’s now celebrate its goodness to us with a big pot of corn chowder, prepared with gratitude and love!

The Greening Spirit’s  Favorite Corn Chowder

Recipe from Red Rooster Chef Norman J. LeClair in his wonderful book of foodie memoirs “Culinary Expressions” (Dome Publishing, 2002) Italics are my own adjustments. Preparation is my own way of doing it, apologies to Norman LeClair.

INGREDIENTS: 1 teaspoon olive oil, 4 oz.salt pork sliced (I substute bacon when necessary) 2 cups chopped onions, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 lb potatoes, pealed and diced, 1 bay leaf  (and pinch lemon thyme or sweet marjoram), 1 15-oz. can of cream corn (avoid that sweetened with corn-syrup), 2 cups of corn kernels, canned, frozen or fresh, 1 cup of evaporated milk or half-n-half.

Preparation:

1. Saute pork or bacon in olive oil until crisp..don’t burn. Add chopped onions, saute untiol onions start to turn color. Add chicken stock, potatoes, bay leaf and marjoram. Bring to a light boil, cook about 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf and salt pork (leave bacon if you used that.) Add cream of corn and corn kernels. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add evaporated mile or cream. Ladle into bowls…top with oyster crackers. Serves 6-8

***Note: if you enjoyed this essay,  might you click the “LIKE” button so WordPress takes notice?? Thank you!

I had been away from my Greening Spirit Blog  for quite some time during a year or two of intense inner change and necessary re-evaluation about how to gracefully change course, life direction and purpose.

During this time apart and for several years previously, my familiar path and way of being in the world of work as a music/piano teacher for over 30 years had shifted. The popular culture of technology as “amusement”, and  cultural economic uncertainties have moved people (adults and children) away from making the investment, financially or time wise, for the study of art and music with the fervor and interest of previous years.

A kind of real life crisis in the way of “challenge/opportunity” had made my daily experience of work and the security and peace of mind that steady work provides, confusing, and somewhat disorientating…rather like being in a corn maze in which we cannot easily find the right and sure path leading us to the Center of things where there are goodies to enjoy, or a platform to climb allowing a view of where we have come from and where we may be going.  In other words, experiencing the corn maze was an experiential metaphor for the challenge to clarity and sense of direction as well as an invitation to enter the unknown in search of a treasure and then returning to our origins, but renewed and with a new focus.

How to earn a living in a new way when the old way no longer works  (especially for those of us who have always been self-employed or creators of our personal livelihood ) can suddenly seem like a maze of confusion about which way to proceed, where to turn, which path to take. Questions like “how did I get in here?”, and ” how do I now find my way to the new?” are the first two questions requiring inner work, honing a sense of  discernment and direction in finding the right path to our Heart’s desire in the center of uncertainty,  and claiming it in the Greening Spirit way. That is to say, surrendering to an organic sense of knowing that we are ever evolving through many cycles and seasons of our life in which there are natural times for letting go of what no longer works, and natural times for being open to what new seedling in us is waiting to sprout.

A secret then, when in the Corn Maze, is to open our eyes and KEEP MOVING, allowing the Center to draw us closer to the place of Heart where we can see the overview. Linger there for a bit and then get back on the path of return. If we got in, we can surely, with patience and discernment, find the proper continuing Path that will spill us back out into the World with a new and fresh perspective, new gifts to offer, new work and purpose. (this is a repost, editied, from 2012)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Selfie

Check my music blog! http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Check my foodie blog! http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

Follow the Leader! (Mom? Dad? Auntie?)

 

Some of us who are of poetic spirit, see things in more than one way, in layers of experience and meaning. In the poetic soul, there is a “surface” message or experience as it is, and then the “deeper” meanings of perception and  metaphor. One of my daughters will sometimes sigh and say “Mom, can’t a thing be just what it is?”.  And I must sigh in return ” Well, yes…… and no…it is so often MORE than just what it is.”  The poetic mind works differently, admittedly making more complex meanings out of the seemingly simplest event or object. We can’t help it…the gods installed that program into us, and every person with even a spark of greeningspirit or star-struck magic in them knows we must honor the gods who have such wonderful imaginations and want us to carry their message forward!

And so our family experience through the corn maze set me thinking about life in general when we have been moving along on our familiar path, and then either by choice, or without warning, we seem to enter a new phase,   propelling us on a new journey. And that new situation, despite a few hints, markers, or even a well-marked map, suddenly is filled with a multitude of choices, some which keep us moving forward, some that just circle around back to the same old place, or some that lead nowhere at all, to a dead-end.

These situations are all part of life.. as in becoming a parent (all of a sudden you have to be a leader),  becoming partnered (learning to compromise..”let’s go THIS way!”  “No, let’s go THAT way!”),  losing your job or health  (what do I do, where do I go, which path that will get me back on track???),  or being drawn towards a spiritual/creative quest (how do I get to the CENTER so I can see clearly and live from the HEART?), family relationship challenges (we have a problem here…how do we all pull together as a family to stick together and figure this out?).

As my daughters and grandkids and I adventured through the maze, we elders had to often move VERY fast to stay in formation..an elder in front leading, kids in-between, and an elder in the rear,  as it should be in a healthy family system. Our little guy, Aiden, at 3,  has a spirit of mischief and is VERY swift of foot. Suddenly running ahead and disappearing from sight around one or another bend (or as well, leaving the path and cutting though and disappearing altogether into the corn itself like a fearless pioneer) and he could be lost forever, giving us a severe fright, as we kicked into third gear to overtake and intercept his youthful adventure. It was a parental/Noni challenge…sometimes we  elders were properly in formation leading and forming up the rear, and sometimes the speed and curiosity or impatience of the kids rushed them forward into lead position, requiring a different kind of vigilance on our part.

This was a very thick corn maze this year and we almost gave up before we reached the center from which we could take a break and get an over-view of the whole journey which we had been making as a family team. From our perch on top of the platform, one could see the whole of the maze, but not the individual paths hidden within this jungle of corn, so in spite of having a maze map in hand, we had no idea of what might be the way back into the world, which by the way, we could see beyond the maze itself: the pumpkins, the slide, the snack bar, the hay-ride, the cars in the parking lot and people..small tho they looked from a distance. You know, “Life as we Knew it” aka “The REAL world”.

Grandson Owey was getting tired and a little impatient. Giana was still up for adventure and eager to get a promised candy apple when we returned to civilization. Aiden the Adventurer dropped his cap under the platform which was irretreavable (until his Mom broke the rules for the first time in her life (?) when he wasn’t looking to  sneak under the orange lines cutting through the corn maze and under the deck and rescue it). Lisa, my daughter who is a scientist decided that enough was enough and whipped out her i-phone with the map on it to pinpoint where we were, and holding it forward so we could follow it out to the world.      

Down off of the Center platform, with a feeling that at least we had accomplished a new perspective, we moved forward.

However no matter which path we took, we kept doubling back to where we had just come from, or came up against a dead end.

We agreed that next year we would enter the corn maze with a GPS as a back-up. We were startled and amused when suddenly we heard a thrashing through the corn and a renegade family..a Mom, Dad, and 2 kids..appeared n front of us, fresh out of the jungle, frustrated but laughing and desperate to just get out and back to the refreshment stand. It did give us an idea as a possible future option. ( Sometimes we just have to break a few rules, and go beyond perceived boundaries, becoming a pioneer off of the beaten path to express our creativity)

But we persisted…Owey  who was really tired,  Big Brave Boy that he is,  asked, lamented “WHEN are we gonna get there….!!!!” and  was comforted by Mom as we sought the Exit in vain,  we adults keeping up a positive attitude for the kids..

   Well, time was getting short and we assessed what was now.necessary. We had entered life with a spirit of adventure and curiosity, we had many side trips on the way to the Center, finding a treasure and perspective away from our familiar daily way of life, we had traveled to and through new and foreign territory, sometimes leading the young ones, sometimes following them as they fearlessly charged into life with fresh and youthful abandon, we had stuck together as a Family in a challenge as well as fun and adventure, we had problem-solved together and rescued a baseball cap, we had met a creative-thinking other family on the journey, and we had been amazed by the beauty and imagination of the corn plants..a gift from the gods themselves. And we had to move on, as life was calling us.

We could not find the path to the exit.

And so, taking a cue from the other family we had met along the way (humans do learn  skills and resourceful problem-solving from each other) we communally assessed and aligned ourselves with the outer border of the maze by the sound of traffic on the highway, and the sound of activity at the farm….ducked under the orange boundaries strips, cut through the corn unceremoniously and spilled out..a “together family”…over to the refreshment stand and the hayride.

We DID IT!

Unfortunately, the farm had no candy apples that day and so Giana was very disappointed…another one of life’s teachings…how to move on. And so in a moment’s flash we did..onto the hayride, archery, the slides, and the animals. And all was well. Very Very Well….

The Corn Maze was A-MAIZE-ing!

         **Repost from 2011

From Christine, The Greening Spirit   

%d bloggers like this: