We’re stuck on the edge right now. Daily temperatures are reaching up to snag the hemline of summer’s skirt and hold her in place while comforting lentil and pumpkin soups are beckoning from cold-weather kitchens. Our kids are back in school and once again, have well established routines. It’s time to take inventory of the yard, clean it up and plant some winter flowers. I want to go hiking in the middle of a Saturday without risk of heat stroke and dehydration. I want the elections to be history. This year I’m ready for change but sometimes transitions are more difficult.
I envision the day that my kids roll out the driveway to take on the world as one that’ll be excruciatingly hard for me. The onset of an empty nest, an unexpected change in employment, loss of a loved one, shifts in leadership or government – like death and taxes, change is certain. Those who cope well are often masters at reframing change into a positive opportunity. Kids leaving might mean less cash outflow and offer time to pursue other interests. A job change can provide the chance to expand horizons, explore a new area and reinvent oneself.
In his book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, author William Bridges offers stages of transition and suggests that we often navigate it best when we view the changes as seasons. First, brilliant colors turn brown and settle to the earth which indicates that another year is closing. The next phase is winter when the soil lies fallow and hardened beneath bitter cold temperatures. This is a time for quiet reflection while our situation seems lifeless or hibernation. Finally, spring arrives and pale green shoots of life emerge from the earth. We move forward with life once more.
Seasonal eating is much the same. This week our CSA holds the season’s last juicy watermelon nestled against a batch of spicy winter mustard greens. I’m eager to move into comfort foods but view this as an opportunity to blend the seasons and celebrate the change.
Cucumber Watermelon Salad
adapted from Food Network
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cups diced watermelon
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1 bunch mint, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- crumbled feta
Toss onion, watermelon, cucumber and mint. Add olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon and toss. Top with crumbled goat cheese.
Mustard Greens Recipe
adapted from Simply Recipes
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
- 1/3 cup vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant. Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve piled onto warm crusty bread.
Can you recall a time when you weren’t quite prepared for change? How did you deal with it?