Friday, October 22, 2010

on chocolate/pear cake, running and autumn.

On the brink of another autumn weekend--oh autumn how I love you!--I wanted to review last weekend's loveliness.

I made this Bittersweet Chocolate and Pear Cake for some very dear friends' housewarming party. The cake met with great approval, though with its farmers market pears and specks of dark chocolate and that golden taste of browned butter, I shouldn't be surprised. Yet in my personal philosophy, anything remotely worthy of celebration ought to be celebrated, and baking success certainly falls into that camp--as does that happy house filled with some of my favorite people. And so I celebrate. And we eat cake.
Following that lovely evening, I awoke to Sunday's perfectly crisp air and bright sunlight and cool temperatures to run the Grand Rapids Half Marathon, which I accomplished in a pleasing 1 hour and 43 minutes. I was thrilled with my time and stats and so forth. And I will probably regret what I'm about to do, but if you're interested in proof that I was running that morning, here it is. I promise, people, despite the look on my face in the majority of those photographs, I do enjoy running. Ha. But it was an utterly perfect day; it really was. Mist hovered across open grass, and the wooded areas of the route blazed with brilliant colors. People ran in great herds--such camaraderie!--and families and friends held signs and chased the route on bicycles and cheered. And on top of all of that, there's this really great guy who woke up early early early in the morning to bring me downtown to the race and cheer me on. This, of course, made the day all the more wonderful. I am blessed indeed.

Then, in the spirit of recovery, four pals and I enjoyed an afternoon of sun and fall colors paired with fresh donuts and hot apple cider. Delightful.
So with that, cheers to another weekend! May your mornings be bright and your cider be warm, my friends.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

i don't want to miss it.

I have a whole slew of things I want to write about and recipes I would like to share and pictures to post from events and excursions back in September...but for the moment, I offer something a bit more simple.

I'm compelled to write about changing seasons over and over again here. And I think I've said before that I don't know what it is that intrigues me so about this process in nature and the emotions and feelings and memories it evokes in us (or me, at least). But I'm fascinated. On top of that, I adore fall. Yesterday, I read the following in an old post from the Smitten Kitchen: I love fall. I mean, I know how decidedly unoriginal that is to say, but I can't help it. And I'm sure it's even more unoriginal to say it by way of quotation, but doing so makes me feel less alone in my decided un-originality and weakness for all of the beauties of fall--the bright splashes of color in the trees, the crunch of the leaves on the ground, the chill of the crisp air, the apples and squash and cider and dark leafy greens...

And yet. I'm afraid I'm missing it. I'm afraid I'm missing the change of seasons and the glory of autumn It feels as though there has been so much going on--trips and visitors and a conference and meetings and deadlines and events and friends and a race to train for and an apartment to clean and my first and then second illness of the season--and on top of that, I have the overworking of my mind to contend with as I overanalyze my life, worry about all of the injustice and mess of the world and pursue the impossible task of figuring out both the present and the future right now while staying poised and trying not to let anyone see that I'm a bit afraid of all that may or may not come.

When I got home from work yesterday, I felt that fall had suddenly begun in earnest while I was tucked away in my office. As I walked to my front door, it seemed that I was brushing through more layers of leaves than before, and the air had that feel of autumn that I can't possibly describe with words, and it finally smelled like the season.

I went outside for a moment today on my lunch break. I didn't have any errands to run, and I didn't really want to go anywhere. But before staying in (to write this post--something other than a grant request or press release or newsletter), I wanted to catch a bit of the sunlight on my face, to see the brightness of the leaves in their splendor, to feel a little more free and alive.

It was perfect. Still, cool, bright.

And I don't want to miss this...this season, this time of my life, this moment. It's too easy to wish it all away.

So tonight, I will appreciate the wonder of the season as I run through the leaves covering the sidewalks of my neighborhood, and I will revel in and enjoy the present moments of my life. This weekend, I will bake for friends with autumn fruits and happily run a race in my city. I will appreciate and love well the good folks that surround me. I will decide what needs to be decided, and I will let everything else rest, peacefully. I won't worry about the future...the bluster and ice of the winter to come or the elements of the life that awaits me.

There is too much goodness in my life and in this world to be anything but thankful.