Yesterday I mentioned that I love to cook but don’t like to bake. There are far too many rules in baking whereas cooking allows me to unleash my creativity, adding a pinch of this, a dash of that, and a handful of something else. When I was homebrewing, I made my beers the same way. There are, of course, some rules that must be followed. And some tastes that don’t mix well. In cooking there is a balance between the rules and creativity or individuality.
There is also balance in my home and kitchen. M likes to bake so we balance each other out in that regard. He makes fantastic breads. He even learned how to make gluten-free breads when I went gluten-free. Sourdough gluten-free breads. It doesn’t get much better than that, let me tell you. (Note: I am no longer living the gluten-free lifestyle, but I still don’t include many wheat products in my diet anymore. I feel better that way.)
Yesterday M made the fig bars you see in the above photo. I thought they might make a good subject for my food photography experiments. The photo needs a spot of color, I think. Or something. I dunno. It doesn’t look quite… finished.
Something to ponder
I was reading an article about skiing in the December issue of Yoga Journal last night. (I’m a little behind in my magazine reading.) In a section about cross-country skiing, the author wrote:
Balance is not something you achieve and hold on to. It’s more ephemeral; it’s a string of temporary successes, held momentarily, lost, and then discovered again. Skiing gives you a fleeting experience of balance with each shift of weight and each glide. But it’s not permanent. When you lose it, you just have to have faith that you’ll come back to it.
~ Carmel Wroth, “Cold Play,” Yoga Journal, December 2010
I like it. I like that it can be applied to life as well as skiing. The yoga poses included with these words of wisdom are a bonus. I’m going to give them a try.
Today’s Outdoor Adventures
We’re approaching the time of year when it feels like winter is weighing heavily upon us. Mid-January. Then the dreaded February comes along, the longest short month of the season.
Although I mean heavy in a figurative sense, there are some literal meanings as well. Getting dressed to go outside takes time and effort. You have to put on a couple of pounds of layers and boots. Hats. Gloves. Even so, the cold manages to find any vulnerable spots and slip inside the poundage of layers.
Walking is more difficult. The snow seems to weigh you down as you trudge through the drifts that are almost waist high. It’s a relief to find the spots where the wind has thinned the snow layer.
Today has been mostly gray. The flurries continue but with little accumulation. It’s in the 20’s and windy. I did not want to step outside.
The original plan was to wait until late afternoon and go skiing. Then I decided I better not wait. I knew waiting would result in me not going at all. So I put on all those layers. The boots. The hat. The gloves. And I stepped out into the gray and cold and blustery winds.
I didn’t intend to go far. Just far enough and for just long enough to meet my commitment. It was strangely quiet. Although there was food in the feeders, there were no birds at them. I topped off the food in the feeders and then found myself walking down the hill towards the pond. I would go to the bottom of the hill. No further.
I got to the bottom and my feet wanted to keep going so I continued on until I found myself standing by the creek in the woods, thinking how dull and gloomy the day was and wondering where the birds had gotten to. Perhaps they were feeling the weight of winter too, and had decided to stay inside.
The sun came out and lit up the creek, the ice, and the snow. Birds were chattering and cheeping and tweeting in the trees. In a split second, the world had changed.
Of course we all know the world didn’t change. My perspective changed. It changed enough that I was able to enjoy the rest of my walk on this wintry day.
The clouds came back and hid the sun again. The grays grew deeper and darker. On my way back to the house, I found this:
A little gift from Mother Nature hidden in the willows. I must have missed it when I walked by the willows on my way to the woods. To some, it’s just dried flowers left behind when summer and autumn moved on. But it brightened my day almost as much as the sun’s brief appearance. I’m not sure why. It just did.