Sometimes when life gets heavy, we tuck ourselves in under a blanket. we hibernate until we are stronger, until we regain the confidence to exert ourselves - finding that thin, shimmering thread of extravertedness which we must cultivate, else becoming swallowed by the self absorption named self preservation. But when we follow that thread, when we take the bold move of following where it might lead, one brave step into what Might Be, that is where reward can be found.
And sure, I know that my small brave steps are insignificant in the grand, universal scale of what really matters. But if we are to change anything, we must start with these small, bold steps, and allow those rewards to kindle the next.
Sunday was my first race with my new team. An all women team - made up of some of the kindest, happiest group of women I could have hoped to dream up. And I can't wait to get to know them better, as I work on letting down my own walls and learning how to be more approachable myself. We raced, I raced, gosh darnit! for the first time, Really, in about two years. I was focused! I put my head down and went for it. I found a maintainable pace. For only a portion of only one lap, did the doubt creep in my mind-stream, which was quickly shut down & replaced by a new voice. A voice of confidence. A voice of encouragement. My Own voice, for once, telling me "Yes, I can... just shut up and do it." A new voice that I am hoping to get to know better, as the demands of the racing season increase. I placed an astonishing 8th, in the top 25%! We celebrated after. We basked in the glow as our team mate took 3rd, and saw the wave of accomplishment wash over her. And then gathered that evening for a team BBQ.
We were asked to bring a side or dessert. After much deliberation I settled on a dessert. Figs have been in season, and I've been drooling over tarts and galettes. But perhaps there will be a GF need.. I don't have enough practice with vegan, so I stopped there. I settled on a shortbread crust, thanks to Bob's Red Mill for a delicious GF shortbread mix. I topped that with a thin layer of blackberry jam, frangipane (GF by using some of the shortbread mix to replace the flour) and sliced figs. Bakewell! Maybe. Still not sure if this technically qualifies, but it was gorgeous. Served with fresh blackberries picked up at the farmer's market, and voilà!
This is what I love. Taking concepts, flavors, and melding them together and adjusting to meet a specific need, only to have it turn out even better than you can imagine.. and to be able to share that flavor and experience with others? Especially those who usually have to bypass the desserts and look on as others savor their bite of cake? This is a joyful moment.