#todaysthought (and a book)

 

There are brownies in my fridge. The chewy chocolate kind made with shredded *zucchini instead of eggs and milk, and having one with peppermint tea is kind of blissful. Add rain washing everything, turning it this impossible spring green, and new things everywhere budding and opening and blooming and the way cats are able to so totally relax and it gets me thinking about the difference between what we need and what we want. It makes me think that if we’re lucky enough to be breathing, to have the luxury of walking and seeing and hearing, if we have good friends, a smattering of family, an animal or two in our life, a splash of joy occasionally, work we find meaningful, a decent conversation now and then, a place to live, a comfortable chair, a change of scenery once in a while, peace, and the luxury of ordering pizza when the mood strikes… then surely we have everything we need. Anything else is a want.

And yet so often we focus on the ‘want’.

We give it our energy and time, all of which takes away from enjoying what we already have, or from doing something worthwhile, from making one tiny slice of the world a better place, rattling a cage or two, writing a letter, asking questions, demanding answers. All of which brings even more contentment.

If we have what we need, we have the power we need to be worthwhile, the ingredients for contentment, and so can turn our backs on the noise telling us to constantly want more, to be this or do that, what to buy, what to believe.

But I digress. This is really about the pleasure of brownies.

And simplicity.

Which always leads me to thinking about one of my favourite books, Alix Kates Shulman’s Drinking the Rain, in which she asks the best question:

how little do I need in order to have everything?

 

If you’re missing brownies in the everything, here’s a portal to bliss.

(Just add tea.)

*zucchini used in my version was locally grown last summer and frozen all winter and it worked better than fine

 

life’s a beach (aka: accidental seaweed)

 
One of my favourite books is Drinking the Rain,  by Alix Kates Shulman.

beach-8It’s about how, at the age of fifty, Shulman runs away for the summer to a rustic cabin on an island off the coast of Maine and has all kinds of little epiphanies, mostly about her relationship to nature. Having grown up and lived her whole life in New York City, it has never occurred to her that nature is especially significant except as a nice place to visit now and then.

beach-7 beach beachbeach-8 beach-2beach-5She returns to the cabin every summer for years, each time trying to bring the feeling of these epiphanies back with her to NYC in the form of shells and bits of seaweed and eating the way she did on the island, but apparently it’s hard to forage in Manhattan. So it never feels quite the same, it feels ridiculous in fact, this tree-huggy approach to life once her feet are firmly back on pavement. And it bothers her, initially, that she has to divide herself between this new sense of exhilaration and freedom as the island person and the reality of living most of the year in the city.

beach-9 beach-9 beach-11 beach-2The book is about finding her way to being both sides of herself, regardless of where she is.

***

But this post is about PEI, my personal choice of islands to run away to.

beach beach-3 beach-2There is magic there, and when you feel it you understand why islanders want so very much to protect it. The first post I did in this Week of PEI  was one called ‘Home and Away’… I get it. I’m grateful there’s so much love of place from those who call it home.

beach-12 beach-6 beach-7The island’s magic is in good hands.

beach-10I also get what Shulman says about the island vibe and how you can’t bring that back to wherever you live, but what happens is maybe even better because if you embrace that feeling, gather the moments, the essence of the place, like stones on a beach, and tuck them inside yourself… a kind of alchemy happens… those moments hold bits of energy that change who you are, wherever you are.

beach-3 beach-2 beach-3beach-4I bring back stones. And shells. And sometimes accidental seaweed.

beach-4Reminders of magic.