There are days when you don’t feel like cooking.
You spend the morning writing, you spend the afternoon not buying a dress at the mall, you do a conference call, you head to a meeting, and you think: I’m hungry, but I don’t want to put any effort into it. You don’t want to cook, but you want to eat (you always want to eat), so you pull something out of the fridge or off the counter, be it an apple or a cookie or a large piece of bread, and it is enough.
There are many days like this. Maybe most days are like this.
On the better of these many days, you come home and you see a zucchini on the counter, one you bought at the farmers market—the same farmers market that you will miss come winter, if only because it puts fresh and local vegetables in your kitchen each week—and you think with your lazy heart that you’d like to eat it without much work. So you slice it into rounds, and you sauté them on the stove in coconut oil and butter until they’re crisp and golden, like little chips, and you pop them in your mouth, one by one, as quickly as they cook, until they’re gone.
Earlier this year, I was innocently wandering through the grocery store, filling up my cart, when I spotted a turquoise box with a picture of what looked like a rice pilaf next to a filet of grilled salmon, the words “gluten-free,” “cooks in 10 to 15 minutes” and “organic” staring me in the face. I’d heard of quinoa before, never tried it, and the whole idea intrigued me.
Today’s story is both hard and good, both terrifying and beautiful. It’s about what we did last Sunday, after blueberry pancakes at Jeannie’s in Bar Harbor, when we visited Acadia National Park, hiking and climbing and struggling; and it’s about what we didn’t do, never reaching Thunder Hole, which we’d come to see. It even includes two recipes at the end. I feel grateful to be able to tell it, and grateful that you are reading, and, mostly, grateful it didn’t become the last thing I lived to do.
Things started off well: After breakfast, we’d driven to the park and stopped at an overlook to take photos of the European-like landscape of hills and water and unique houses, at which I said, Isn’t this beautiful? Look at the views! I love nature!, and then continued to the visitors’ center to pick up a map.
At that same visitors’ center, I pointed out a sign that warned most injuries have occurred from falling off steep cliffs while hiking or biking, and we both shrugged it off, not planning to head towards any steep cliffs, just hike a little through the forest, and, though a little hot, wasn’t this a beautiful day?
On our way to Thunder Hole, a popular site for watching powerful waves that we’d had recommended to us, a forest ranger stopped traffic, one car at a time, to divert us to another path; Thunder Hole was closed because of a rescue mission (which I’d later learn related to a tragedy involving the death of a seven-year-old girl).