These past summer months most evenings a little before dusk
I've headed out for a walk
Something that began as a bit of a break from work, with each passing day, has felt more and more like a privilege, as well as a gift
I love the way I'm able to be in the moment. I love being out as the world is winding down. Love that I can be alone with my thoughts, and that I'm still able to shave minutes off of my three-mile time. I notice the dabbled sunlight on the rooftops, a deer eyeing me suspiciously as he snacks on our neighbor's pretty flowers
I smile as I pass the family of three, the mom pushing a stroller as her husband jogs ahead and then back again, keeping pace with his young family while still getting in some exercise. A balancing act we parents know all too well
one foot in front of the other
As summer draws to a close, I catch myself, as usual, with pangs of regret for many of the things I haven't done. I'm sorry that I didn't finish a novel, or ride a day or two of RAGBRAI. I wish we'd eaten more dinners on the porch, taken more swims at the pool, caught more fireflies, had more picnics and barbecues.
The college students are starting to trickle back into town this week for the start of their fall semester, and the elementary school behind our house is a bustle with activity. Amongst the excitement of a new school year, I can't help but feel the tiny sense of loss that inevitably comes with Labor Day. It's as predictable as the first chilly mornings, and the need to re-find my favorite sweaters
I'm reminded of a quote I read not long ago by a University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow means being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost
As it's been with my evening walks, each new season, I know, will bring its own feel, and its own sense of flow
For me, one of the best things that's come from my nightly ritual is the opportunity to be present. To be out as the sun is setting, noticing the subtle, like how it disappears just a bit earlier each evening
Lately, I find myself much more aware of the loss of time as it passes. The bigger goal, I've discovered is not to linger too long in the places of what could have been, or what should have been, but instead of gratitude. Call me the eternal optimist, but it's the only answer that seems to make sense
So I'm choosing instead to focus on what is and to be grateful for all of the things I have managed to do this summer. In them, just as I have with my night walks, it's hard to deny I've found my flow. This rhythm of life that's achieved when we're not even thinking about it; instead
it just happens
I know I'm there during some of the best moments of my days when to-do lists and worries fade away, and I just am.
This summer, I've walked for miles, grown stronger, healthier, and faster. I've learned new things, ridden my bike, and cooked lots of great meals. Best of all, I'm happy to say I've found it most in the moments I've been with
the people who I love
In search of some new and different snacking ideas, I turned this weekend to Heidi Swanson. A recipe for a warm spinach chop with hard-boiled eggs, garlic, onions, nuts, and harissa.
It's great warm or cold and is fairly quick to make. It certainly can be snacked on with some pita chips, though it's been great as a side, or even for breakfast on whole-grain toast.
We really enjoyed the combination of complex flavors. The spice of the harissa, crunch of the nuts, tartness of the lemon, and the substance of the egg.
ps: My method for making the perfect hard-boiled eggs comes from Simply Recipes
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~ Adapted from Supernatural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
Chopped Spinach and Egg Salad with Harissa
- 1 lb. spinach
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 red onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp harissa
- 6 large hard-boiled eggs peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted (** the original called for slivered almonds)
- Scant 1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
- Grated zest of 1/2 lemon optional
- Remove any tough spinach stems.
- Add ½-inch water to a pot and bring to a boil.
- Add the spinach stirring constantly, until the spinach has collapsed (~ 1 minute).
- Drain the spinach and run cold water over it until cool.
- Spin-dry very well in a salad spinner (or press-dry in a clean kitchen towel)
- Finely chop the spinach.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chopped onions and sauté 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in harissa and spinach.
- Add the eggs, pine nuts, salt, and lemon zest and stir again gently to combine well.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.