The rain won’t stop; it is clearly time to take a mini break. This week’s recipe? Force out any lingering bad attitude by getting oneself far away from the lonesome study-kitchen and straight into a costume-fueled square dance with $3.00 beer and late night swing. Add a giant tuba. You can even dance so hard you break your shoes and lose all your clothes to heat and happiness. If you are in the deep end of real heavy, add 2 am pizza and winning the meat draw. Carry your new-found bacon with pride, sip bourbon from a flask, and feel the evening buoy you.
The next day have your friends wake you at noon for slow breakfast. Put CCR on the record player, make coffee, and eat pancakes with jam donated generously by the fading summer. Remove the last of your inner chill.
I keep thinking that one day I will escape myself and have a quiet fall. I lust for cozy evenings and chilly tent time where one runs into a sleeping bag and reads books with a fading headlamp because they can. Because it is raining and the best place to be is almost-outside.
Alas, here I am. Where I always seem to be. Busy brain, busy life. Funny how even when I long for slow, speed rushes in. I sometimes wonder how this became the “here” I strove so hard for.
But, there is hope. Its apple month. Apples are inherently lazy. Apples take three entire seasons to arrive! Leaf curls in spring, tart globes all summer, bulging red yumm through early fall. Apples mean pie, sauce, crumble, and toast smeared with time-cooked butter. These are all satisfyingly slow things. While I will continue to mold-up many things in my life, a pile of apples take forever to ruin (even when I inevitably leave them sitting for months half forgotten on the porch). A person can eat an apple buried in a soggy paper bag in January, and find it still tastes fresh. It is good that something in life holds better than the rotten tupperware stashed underneath the mexi-blanket in my car or the rising guilt from the pile of letters I do really mean to write. Fall fruit is good for my chaotic brain. Good for my heart.
So, in celebration of slow; here is my favourite fall cake recipe. It is full of cozy ingredients that appear in the world at their own pace. You can’t rush maple syrup, walnuts, or apples. I am hoping it inspires more stillness. Or, at the very least, more acceptance that while the right now is hectic, it will all be ok soon.
The other day someone asked why i wanted to be a midwife.
How does one tell that nice person you just met
it’s for your dad; age six?
Alone at a brick gate,
wearing his coat for a year
in case she turns back.
photo: myles morrison, 1980s vancouver island coast.
I’ve been awake for more than 24 hours. This happens to me much more than I would like to admit. I should say that staying up this long was worth it for the learning, the smooth birth, or even today’s surprisingly productive study session. But really, who am I fooling. The past 24 hours of sleep-woozy were actually worth it for discovering this salad. It will get me through this winter. Make it. It’s simple. It is a gift for you from the chaos that is my refrigerator. Eat it with curry and some nice beer. If you are feeling very deluxe, wrap yourself in a wool blanket, sit on the balcony, and put your feet up. Don’t think about your list of things to do. Instead, watch birds in the garry oaks. Plan a hike. Ponder what you will do when you don’t have to be awake this long. I chose beach trails and mexico, but the content of your pleasurable-slow-fall-afternoon daydreaming is all up to you. Apparently solace is that easy. All it took was five minutes of chopping (and a small pile of minted beets).