Date Scone. Birds are twittering, sitting side by side on the telephone wire in our yard behind the casita. I can feel the slight breeze shifting through the fronds of the palm tree helping their gentle arms to sway like long feathery fingers. A neighbor’s small dog yaps insistently in the distance and the bright yellow bi-plane passes overhead and flies toward the mountain, I can’t help but wave.
I took Bill on that very plane for his birthday and it was quite exhilarating flying over the city masked in goggles and leather cap. He has a pilot’s license but its been years since he took a plane to the air, so he was thrilled and smiled like a kid ear to ear.
The passengers on board now, no doubt, are snowbirds from Canada or Minnesota or some other frozen winter land, seeking refuge in this warm oasis. Fall in the desert is sublime.
In this moment I feel calm and my mind is not too active. I feel the warm sun on my left thigh; the right one remains neutral in the shade of the arbor.
It’s cool in the shade which makes a nice contrasting experience of warm and cool to observe. I detect a faint smell of sensual jasmine blossoms from a neighbors garden and dream of gardens in my past by the ocean where I planted pink jasmine vines and lived a different life.
Right now as I stretch on the lounger with the mountain in view in the distance I am content with doing nothing, all the usual urgency to complete a task falls away.
Tall ficus trees surrounds the property like a fortress, they are perfectly trimmed and manicured, their dark green shiny leaves more sparse now it looks like a lacy veil and provides a faint view into the neighbors yard.
When we first moved into our new home, I stood on a very tall blue ladder to hang a wind chime in the mesquite tree and peeked over the hedge and got a glimpse into our neighbor’s yard. It is lush and tropical with beautiful old palms that stand tall and wild with their skirts on.
I love palms in their natural state. Most palms in Palm Springs are pruned in the summer and early fall. It keeps them healthy and also makes it a bit safer in the high winds when the fronds fly off. The fronds are heavy and people can get hurt and cars damaged.
I like this small wildness looming high above our perfect hedge and if I had my way I would allow at least one of our palms to go untrimmed. The trees and I have an intimate relationship, we connect telepathically. I feel loved and protected by them and they remind me to accept what is. I watch them in stillness and in storms and they just surrender to what is happening and are present with it all. They provide food and shelter for the birds, bats, other animals and insects. The dates hang heavy, their dark meat for the taking –a wonder of nature and its splendid beauty, nourishment and uses. I must have dozed off with the taste of sweet dates on my mind, for I woke with a start remembering our Airbnb guests are arriving soon so it’s time to do a bit of baking and date scones are the perfect accompaniment with a nice cup of afternoon tea.
- (21⁄2 oz) butter, chilled and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
- (12oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- 11⁄2 tsp baking powder
- (1oz) bakers fine sugar
- (21⁄2oz) dates or raisins
- (4fl oz) milk
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/Gas 7). Lightly grease or spray a large baking sheet.
- Put the flour and baking powder into a mixer, stir to mix.
- Add the cubes of butter and mix quickly until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and dates or raisins
- Pour (31⁄2fl oz) of the milk and all but 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg into the flour mixture.
- Mix till the mixture come’s together in the bottom of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, lightly knead just a few times only until gathered together, then gently roll and pat out to form a rectangle about (3⁄4in) deep.
- Cut out as many rounds as possible from the first rolling with a (21⁄2in) plain cutter and lay them on the baking sheet, spaced slightly apart.
- Gather the trimmings, then roll and cut out again. Repeat until you have 10 scones.
- Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until risen and golden.
- Remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Split in half and smother in rich creamy butter, it will be hard to stop eating them!