Life moves in circles. We all have our moments when we can either choose to risk or to cower in the hopes of being left alone by whatever the universe might have in store for us. I am not a gambler, but I do believe in the power of sacrifice: when we surrender offerings to the universe that universe returns the loss. Perhaps the reciprocity is not visible or felt for a time, but I believe in the power of karmic forces.
For the first time in my life I celebrated the solstice. Like most powerful moments, the past 24 hours are nothing like I could have planned for. The parade I had hoped to enjoy in Kensington Market never really happened due to the weather. The people we had planned to meet went elsewhere. When we attempted to find those people by travelling all the way uptown, we never found them. Still, what was found was conversation; real, honest conversation and dialogues with random strangers. Conversation, the kind that can make you laugh and bring tears to your eyes, has been lost to most of the people I meet. Last night I had the privilege of re-connecting with how important such a simple thing is to such a complex thing as my life.
After a sage burning, supper began. I wanted to cook my way through a series of perfect plates that would honour the idea of the solstice: a feast before the darkness of winter, a winter where your dearest ones may not be on the other side. I began with a blood-cleansing salad of radichio and arugula mixed with artichoke hearts, goat cheese and flower petals. Not only can such green invigorate the blood, but they also cleanse a tired palate in preparation for heavier foods. The drink pairing was honey mead and a sauternes from Napa Valley.
Next, I prepared a piece of Chilean Sea Bass with chanterelles mushrooms and a giant tiger shrimp. Simple, buttery, woody, yet full of the ocean flavours.I also make a simple artisinal past with morels and snails from the Bourgogne region of France, but I somehow forgot to take a photo of that plate. The wines that were chosen to move into the more intense dishes were a bottle of $100 Carnival Love and a $25 bottle of Stone Dwellers. The Carnival Love was exceptional and well-worth the cost; when the world might end one would be foolish to drink bad wines.
The final piece de resistance was a carefully braised veal osso bucco done in a caramelized San Marzano tomato sauce that cooked for about four hours. The meat was lush, rich and intoxicating. Few flavours can compare to a piece of perfectly cooked meat, and last night this dish was spot on. Desert never really happens much these days. I am not fond of sweets, and I would rather spend my calories on wines and flesh than upon sweetmeats. Still, they have their place…just not on my table.
I head back to Prince Edward Island tomorrow. I would rather not have to undertake this journey, but like many of our life journeys I have no choice. What I want is here, but where I have to go is there if there is ever to be any possibility of here starting the next cycle on track. For the first time in my life, the risk that I have to take is not mine to take, and all that I can do is make my simple offering before I leave. All I can do is to make this journey alone, and pray that my sacrifices are accepted in good faith by the universe. Dharma is doing the duty of what must be done. The only way to out is through. The only way back is forward. The only way to become is to end. Courage….courage, my love.