Monday, November 2, 2009

"to be awake is to be alive"

It's a double-edged sword to look at a calendar and realize that you have no free weekends for the next month. On one hand, you've got a lot going on, which means little boredom and even less time alone. But on the other hand, it means less time alone and even less time to breathe. This past weekend I was staring that busy calendar in the face, but it wasn't until the middle of a (brutal, but gorgeous... but still brutal) 10-mile mountain run at the Gunks when I (literally) couldn't catch my breath that I let the weight of my world sink in.

In the next bit I'll be in Los Angeles, Cincinnati, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, before settling into a couple slow days of slow food and good football in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. I'm excited for every part - can't wait to see old friends, spend some time on the "best coast," and get into my Mom's kitchen to mix our old family recipes with a few from my favorite November issues: Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans from Bon Appetit; Bacon, Onion and Rye Bread Stuffing from Food & Wine; and Black Bottom Pecan Pie from Saveur. Mouth. Watering.

There's a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks, but stopping to breathe hard at Copes Lookout on Sunday snatched me back to the present (and my aching calves) and made me grateful for the quick upstate weekend getaway before the madness begins.

What I'm starting to realize about myself is that "packing it all in" isn't the key to happiness. At least not to mine. There's a truth to the saying "less is more" and it's going to be a 2010 resolution to manage my schedule a bit better. My boss actually schedules time on her work calendar for herself, so that no one can schedule into her own time to think, to work, to just be present... and I'm thinking it's a good model. We're just all so busy, and it seems that we're competing for a medal in "doing it all without having a nervous breakdown." The truth is, we all DO break down once in a while - whether in the form of a monthly pre-menstrual cry that my friend Ben is convinced all women have (he could be on to something), or a late night call to a best friend "just to vent," or a 10pm baking session that leads to pure disaster. Sometimes you just need those little moments to settle into yourself and remember to breathe.

So instead of sharing my stressful Monday night apple/carrot/raisin/total-disaster-in-a-loaf-pan, here are some images from my Thoreau-inspired weekend up state.

We went to Saugerties, NY in search of a Lighthouse I'd seen in a magazine.

We made it to here before the trail was covered by high tide, so we only got a peek.

We took in the last of the pretty fall leaves and breathed their wet, past-prime smell.

We stopped to take pictures of crimson red in the wet underbrush.

We went to Jenkins and Lueken Orchards for apple cider doughnuts and couldn't figure out what we'd do with these funny gourds.

We contemplated life, Walden Pond-style.

We ate delicious brussels sprouts for Halloween dinner that we didn't have to prepare for ourselves. (Thanks Shannon!)

And then we left it all behind at the end of the weekend to head back to the busy city life we know.

There, that was better than explaining why my carrot-apple bread ended up in the trash amid a heap of Monday night frustration. I'm back from LA/OH on Sunday, but until then -- please try to enjoy the serenity of fall's quick visit. It will be gone too soon, so make one of my many apple recipes before all you have left of my favorite season is a peck of gone-soft apples in the fridge.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Baking Therapy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.