I live my life in cycles based on the school year. I have targets to persevere through, I have times of the year that I love, and there are moments that never fail to provide surprises and growth. Summer is my time to renew, reflect and enjoy two months on the road with friends and family. 2013 remains the most productive and personally fulfilling year of my life; I am thankful for the success, the challenges and failures the universe has offered up to me, as I truly believe that each second of 2013 has been pivotal in finding my dharma: my life’s chosen path.
The past week has found me hosting a bachelor’s party for my best male friend, has found me dancing in the streets with new friends for Pride Toronto, cooking cupboards clean before I head East and then West for outdoor and wedding adventures, and I even had time to practice my bass playing in a serious fashion. As I sift through the week’s most interesting photographs, what strikes me most is how the littlest fragments captured can speak so deeply about the world around us.
As I walked through the Pride Parade aftermath in Toronto with friends, I found myself not snapping the “big shots” with a giant lens. I was not looking for images to sell or even share, but rather I wanted to remember what my eyes actually saw as I drifted with the crowds towards stages and patio parties. My eyes part-objectified the world around me: I saw necks, hips, backs, feet and the messages written across bodies for aficionado to find and decode.
As I slow down, sleep in (first time sleeping more than 6 hours in a year or two), and even catch some tanning time by the pool, I feel healthy and capable of whatever my mind seeks out. I have been reading Plutarch, essays on food and identity construction, short narratives about how Time and the Modern Area clash and our need to reconnect with Nature, and even a few Estonian fairy tales about gnomes. I have watched a rabbit attempt to build a burrow in the middle of a freshly cut lawn, and I have spent a few hours observing a pair of young cardinals build a nest in a smoke tree. Time continues to pass, but unlike any other time in my life, I am present and making sure to fill each second with worthwhile, enriching activities and personal connections.
Food is another story. With time on my hands and a need to leave no food behind to rot in my absence, I have been playing a game with myself: what can I cook from the random ingredients at the back of cupboards and in the back of freezers. Mealtimes have become Iron Chef competitions with myself. I entertain friends with recipes that come from my imagination and creative mind; I also make the effort to swim, run, lift weights and drink less coffee in an effort to balance out the calories and late nights. Balance is key.
While I am not a fan of Italian cannoli, in general, I do have to admit that despite the sublime perfection of my own experiments with pineapple-upside down cakes, molten chocolate cakes, bread puddings, and plum crumb cakes, the cannoli from Toronto’s La Strada bakery beat me hands down and into submission. After munching three of these little beauties I was in a bit of Heaven. In fact it somehow inspired me to try my hand at cooking pork shanks on the barbeque after a few hours of pre-cooking in beer and spices. While I was aiming a a German beer garden taste I ended up closer to great southern barbeque. Next time, there will be less boiling, more brining and an oven used to crisp the final product into my Munich aspirations.
Next step has me preparing all week for Friday’s trip to Ottawa for a wedding. I got a sweet room at Chateau Laurier, and am so looking forward to hitting the road even if my bank account would prefer to not have to pay to board my two dogs for a few days at a time. Regardless, the cost of boarding them is worth the unexpected freedom: priceless.