A couple Octobers ago, surrounded by golden maple leaves and whistling breezes and the smell of bonfires in barely twilight, I was walking out to my car with a guy from my Travel Writing class. Inhaling deeply, smiling while I did, I kept telling him, in probably five different ways, how much I loved it all—the season’s smells, its temperatures, how the leaves revealed their true colors, hidden from us the rest of the year. He listened, pretty politely I think, and then, when I’d reached a stopping point, he started talking about spring.
I remember how his face changed, how his voice raised when he said green—all the different shades of green! the leaves and the grass and the trees! the newness of it all! I have to say, while I’ve always been an autumn girl: he got me thinking. And a few months later, when the spring he’d been waiting for arrived, I saw it with his eyes.
This bread came to me unassumingly, unexpectedly, on the back of a bag of flour—the very same bag of flour I gleaned through that crazy Sunday at Whole Foods you may remember. I wasn’t looking for a bread recipe; I wasn’t even really in the mood to bake but, maybe because of what we’d been through together, maybe because I am too impressionable, as soon as I saw this bag’s recipe, despite every bad loaf of bread I’ve made over the last few months, I started gathering ingredients.
It was like this bread found me.
It seems that in this life, there are things we pursue: people we want to be our friends, jobs we apply to have, opportunities we dream of and work for. Then there are things that pursue us or, sometimes, things that fall right into our laps, without our looking for them, without our knowing we could have wanted them at all. In my experience? These are some of the best things.
I spent the last weekend (for the most part) off the Internet, and in that time, I went shopping, walked through a cute little downtown, spent time with friends, watched a movie, almost finished a book, cleaned the entire kitchen and the bathroom, took two naps, reorganized all my drawers, braised lentils, roasted skinny asparagus, bought one of those Trader Joe’s pears for like fifty cents because I can’t turn them down.
While I didn’t get offline to prove anything or because the Internet is inherently bad in any way but rather just to simplify my life a little, spend time focusing on the holiday we’d be celebrating, I have to say: Who knew it’d be so darn nice. When Monday morning came (and with it, the end of my self-imposed fast), nobody was more surprised than me to learn I had less of an appetite for social media and more of a desire for life without it. Now I’m wrestling with that strong contradiction of wanting to share while also wanting not to, of struggling with determining what is worth sharing versus what is worthless, of wanting to be more intentional about the things I do, and not just online.
But I guess contradictions are nothing new. I could just as easily tell you how weird it is that while I love today for its green grass and warm weather, I wish for tomorrow. Or while I want to get physical activity into each day, I let things prevent it. Or that sometimes I have a lot to say but don’t. Or want to try new recipes but fall into what’s familiar.
Like, grilled cheese. Grilled cheese is familiar, I know. There’s nothing super exciting or brilliant about having it for dinner. However, hear me out: there are so many (new to me! so look, I’m being creative!) ways to have it! And at least I’m trying them.