Sunday, 5 December 2010

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Sweet and Sticky

Lacrosse, Florida

A sugar cane stick is something that is sweet wherever you bite. So is literature sweet when virtuous or meant for the soul.

Saturday mornings in the community, Alachua, is the time to read and comment on the relishable pastimes of Sri Chaitanya, father of the holy name. I read and remarked on the relationship between two outstanding saints, Nityananda and Advaita. It was very personal and sweet.

To roll on the theme of “anti-sour” I was whisked away with the Gainesville group to a Sugar Festival after the class. Someone had told me that entertainer Madonna had a tour called “Sweet and Sticky”. Frankly, for a monk, her concerts hold no interest for me and honestly I would opine that there is nothing sweet but only bitter about that type of showgirlship. The Sugar Festival is something very different.

A local couple, Radha Gopinath and Tapasvini, run an organic farm and their sugar cane harvest is on. I was an invitee; I noticed the volunteers for cane chopping were down to the last plants. The last three stalks were left when I was handed a machete. It was a flashback from my tobacco chopping days. (No, I never got into smoking.) Anyways, down they came. “Timber!”

The sweetness, however, came from the tasting. The cane stalks were juiced, then boiled to a molasses texture. Once exposed to the dry, sunny air, it turned into a type of toffee. These various stages of operation offered something for the tongue that was absolutely delicious.

Soup with garden greens and home baked biscuits was also the reward for coming. Some of that cane syrup was spread over the biscuit. What do they say? “Mama Mia!” It all went down so well.

The sweetest and stickiest aspect of the day, however, was not the substances that trailed down to the stomach. It was the sanga. Sanga refers to the food down-to-earth and up-in-heaven company. Saintly association!


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