Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was alone in the house for a stretch of hours, a little miracle, and I didn’t waste a minute. I was trying out a new recipe for salmon blackened with a spicy rub. Along with it, some asparagus made the way I always do, and for dessert, rice pudding with strawberries. Every time I cook fish inside, someone inevitably hollers, “Oh, eeewww, pheww, it stinks…” and this recipe was particularly aromatic, so I had the windows open, and though it was hot outside, there was a lovely warm breeze blowing in and it felt so good on my skin.
I’ve always been a fan of wind–especially strong winds, heavy winds, high winds–but there is something to be said for the Breeze. It’s like a spell on a porch swing after a day baling hay, a lunch of berries and lemonade, a kiss on the forehead. A breeze is more a hint than a statement, a suggestion, how “Perhaps” might move if it took form and shape.
I love the word “perhaps.” There’s hope in it. I used the word today when my son and I went to the phone store and traded in our old, old cell phones for matching Smartphones. Mine was 18 months overdue for an upgrade, but I’ve never been much interested in upgrading when what I have works fine. At the same time, it makes sense to move forward in life, and do a thing when it makes sense, even though it’s a bit daunting. We sat there, he much more savvy than I when it comes to things wireless, asking Dave and Gina questions (yes, we had two people helping us) and marveling at the smooth new phones in our hands.
I think I might have embarrassed my son a bit with all my explaining to the salespeople about and apologizing for my naivete. And with my silly reassurances. “When there is something in front of you that feels daunting or causes you fear, you walk through it, not around it,” I told him. “It will make you stronger.” I was, for all practical purposes, reassuring myself. No, I don’t want to live in a cave, nor do I want things to remain the same. I do like change. I like how it feels to grow. But, honestly, it’s frightening as hell sometimes to not understand. “You’ll get comfortable, it’ll just take a while,” Dave the Phone Man reassured. “Perhaps,” I replied. What if I push the wrong button and get charged for it? What if I send emails to everyone on the list by mistake? What if I can’t figure it out?
What if… well, so what. I figured out my computer. And my voicemail. And my refrigerator beeping device. And my remote. Well, mostly the remote. “First World Problems,” Mr. Sundberg says. And he’s right. I’m so fortunate to live where I live, and the problems I have aren’t really problems; they’re challenges and marks of good fortune and reminders that life is a good. And the blessing, the bonus, is that as I write these words on this keyboard, with my new phone next to me emanating a soft blue light (I’m keeping it near me just to get used to it; I’ll get out the manual later), a soft breeze is coming in through the window over the kitchen sink. I can feel it on my arms and the back of my neck, and am reminded that not everything changes, and despite all the technology in the world, Nature surrounds us with her own course to run. Provided we don’t mess it all up somehow. There’s a balance somewhere, and perhaps we’ll find it. If we walk toward it, and not around it. Perhaps.
If you’re a blueberry picker like I am, a recipe like this one is perfect for a light summer snack. Make a loaf for the neighbors while you’re at it, and don’t skimp on the nutmeg.
Blueberry Banana Buttermilk Bread
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup oil
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1¼ cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1¼ cup blueberries
Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or butter. Whisk buttermilk, brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in mashed bananas. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake until the top is golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool for about 2 hours before slicing.
Prefer muffins? Preheat oven to 400. Line muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Divide the batter among the muffin cups (they will be full). Bake until the tops are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool further.