I must admit, the past two months have been a little rough for me. Getting to the end of this school year was tough, but I made it. School is finally out and I find myself officially unemployed for the next eight weeks. With this abundance of time laid out before me, my mind begins the arduous task of sorting through the myriad of possibilities…How shall I spend this precious allowance of time? What to do, where to go, who to see? And so the making of the lists begins. There are the To-Do’s, the Should-Do’s, the Could-Do’s, the Would-Like-To’s, the Need-To’s, the Must-Do’s, the Absolutely-Have-To’s and, of course, the I-Would-Really-Love-To’s. There is something about the making of a list that lures you into a false sense of control, fools you into believing you are organized and misleads the mind into thinking you are on top of things. Unfortunately, the reality for me is a cloudy mess of confusion. I seem to be suffering from some sort of attention deficit issue lately and I am experiencing some difficulty in focusing my priorities. Focus…I bet there’s a tonic for that. Some sort of elixir, a natural remedy to cure this particular malady? Naturally, I chose to begin my tackling of the To-Do’s in the kitchen. Lesson #1: When you find yourself in such an unfocused state of mind, it is best to stay out of the kitchen.
It’s that time of year again. The time I pine for that precious little reprieve known as Spring Break. For a teacher, Spring Break is a most blessed and sacred time in our yearly cycle. However, the meantime, that eternal stretch of time between the here and there, can be a little difficult to endure. This is hardly a new story and I know it’s been told before, but here I am stuck in the meantime, seeking a little solace in the kitchen again.
I’d never describe myself as a sparkly sort of girl. I can’t say I have a very bubbly personality. I’m not one to swirl or twirl or brew up fizzy energy. However, in the presence of those effervescent qualities, I can’t help but be affected.
Over the past year or so, my husband and I have been exploring this little realm in Foodie Land known as fermenting. Now, through many phases in history, all over the world, people have been fermenting their foods for a very long time. I, on the other hand, am just now discovering this beneficial bacteria-producing way of preserving vegetables and I am quite enjoying it. There is still much to learn, but adding this natural probiotic into my repertoire of plant-based know-how somehow makes me feel somewhat cultured in my culinary pursuits.
Yesterday was another gray and dreary Saturday. My husband had to work all weekend, so we had no outdoor play time on the agenda. With a million-and-one things to be done, I figured it would be a good opportunity to attend to some of those to-do’s still stubbornly lingering on my list. I really needed to tend to the veggies…those sadly neglected winter roots and greens cluttering up the countertop and causing chaos in the fridge. I got up early to keep the hubby company as he prepared for his workday Saturday and I was feeling a little badly about his working weekend predicament. We do look forward to our weekend wandering and it’s always a little disappointing when grown-up responsibilities interfere with outdoor adventure opportunities. But then again, he didn’t seem to mind, there was much to be done and I always find some sort of adventure in the kitchen.
I know I have said this many times before, but sometimes it is the simplest things in life that bring the greatest sense of peace and satisfaction. It is not always the roughest road, the epic journey or the grandest of discoveries that ignite and excite your sense of adventure. Sometimes it is just a simple exploration, a humble revelation or a smooth and easy trail that lead you a place of contentment and gratitude.
Well, after spending the winter months wondering if Winter would actually be making an appearance at all, Mother Nature decided to celebrate the first day of March with a nice little snowfall. My hubby and I headed into the hills for a fun hiking day and a little snow play this last weekend. Now, with the second day of March being the birthday of beloved children’s author, Theodor Seuss Geisel, I could not help but stash in my pack a silly Seuss hat, hoping to capture a photo or two to illustrate some of my favorite quotes in celebration of the occasion.
“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…get on your way!”
Sometimes this particular holiday season confounds me. For many of us, whatever our spiritual or religious stance may be, it is meant to be a period of pause. We are graciously granted time for reflection, celebration, family bonding. We are gifted the opportunity to reprioritize, think beyond ourselves, give to others. And yet, we run about, stressed out over what to give whom, how to get where, who’s going to pay for it all and get it done before the holiday comes. Personally, I always strive to simplify, to focus on the spirit of things and keep myself removed from that stressful materialistic energy. However, even I get sucked into that whirlwind of holiday hustle with a hectic schedule, shopping for gifts, to-do lists and that darn Time continually outpacing me. I am uncomfortable existing in such a state, but at times it is difficult to escape. Sometimes I literally have to tell myself to let go of expectations, slow down and heed the season’s tidings of comfort and joy. Sit down. Take comfort. Enjoy.
Everybody has a story. Everyone has a cause. There is an awareness month for everything these days and a ribbon color for any cause imaginable. It can break your heart to think about all the suffering and loss so many people experience every single day. The question of what can I do to help can be so overwhelming, we often do nothing at all. Except, perhaps pin a ribbon to our chest as a show of support. I have never been the ribbon-wearing sort, myself. Instead, I quietly build little altars in my private spaces, my secret places and I seek solace in my sacred nature moments. I love and respect that so many people who suffer have been awarded a National Day of recognition or an Awareness Month in which to come together, to honor, remember, educate and advocate for their cause. But what I love even more is the idea that, as individuals, each one of us can embrace and create opportunities every day to honor, remember, educate and advocate. And we can share the stories that are near and dear to our hearts. This is my story and these are my little altars for Abe.
It is that time of year again. Temperatures have reached the triple digits, desert adventures have gone into hibernation mode, the cooler runs non-stop as weekdays take on that lethargic summer pace. But when the weekend comes, we head for the hills seeking the shade of those swaying pines, the cool relief of glacial waters and that rejuvenating alpine air. And so it begins. Our mountain season and backcountry camping.