My world is calm again. We wake up and snuggle in the sunlight. I sit on the floor, cradling my cup of sencha. We gather in pools of sunlight, and celebrate the coming of the light. I know why my people have prayed to this light for millennia before me. It banishes the dark and soothes our fears. It is the very force of life. The kitten guards the corners and sleeps at my feet in the night. Nothing that creeps or crawls or flies can escape her even her sleeping ears. I am reminded that my fears were not even as tangible as those imagined bugs. I visualize those fears and that lingering sadness evaporating in the sun’s warmth. We are happy in these moments, when the Earth is new again and the whole day is before us.
There must have been a ferocious wind that night. A wind that carried away the old me, that other person, frightened and uncertain. It tossed me about for a few months, small as I and helpless as I was. Throwing me into a new life. It is cliched because it is true: time heals all wounds. Enough mornings have passed now, I am at peace with it, with that night. As I am with another night, many years ago. I have grown from the span of these nights. If the universe should throw another one of those nights my way, I shall vanquish it, like my kitten with a bug. And we shall grow stronger. No night lasts forever, morning always comes.
And each morning, it has been just one little step at a time. I am beginning to believe that we are lucky, to be given this world, and the chance to dream and aspire. The pursuit of happiness, our shared human goal. I am but a tiny particle sharing in that goal. But that sharing in the strife and striving makes me feel that just maybe everything will be okay.
Here, I offer you my tribute to the morning – granola. If we are what we eat (or ingest), I would be about 60% tea, and at least 15% yogurt-granola-fruit. My favorite breakfast (and snack!) by far.
I use the same base of rolled oats, wheat bran, powdered milk, butter and honey and vary the nuts, spices, and dried fruit. That base is deliciously wholesome, complex with wheat bran and invisible milk, comforting with butter and honey.
This is one of my new favorite variations. It has a vaguely Indian feel, with the coconut, pistachios, and that spicy kick. Don’t fear the garam masala and cinnamon’s ferocious smell while you’re mixing it, it will mellow with the oven’s heat. It tastes lovely eaten out of hand, but throwing it into a bowl of yogurt or milk will tame the spices to a bare whisper.
4 1/2 cups of rolled oat
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup nonfat powdered milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1/2 tbsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into cubes
3/4 cup honey
Optional – 1 egg white (for more clustery, glossier granola)
Preheat oven to 300°F. While it heats, grab a large bowl and combine oats, wheat bran, powdered milk, shredded coconut, pistachios, cacao nibs and salt. Mix thoroughly. In a small saucepan, combine cubed butter, honey, garam masala, and cinnamon. Heat over low heat until the honey is just melted. Slowly pour over the oat mixture, stirring while you pour (with large spoon or rubber spatula). If you are using the egg white, gently stir it into the mixture.
Divide the mixture evenly between two large baking sheets or jelly rolls pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or checking and gently stirring every 10-15 minutes for more even browning. Stir and check less often if you want a more cluster-studded granola, but you may find yourself checking more often if you’re paranoid about burning your granola (as I am).
Allow the granola to cool before snacking or packing away.
p.s. Dear lovely, lovely readers… thank you for your sweet comments. I was literally teary-eyed as I read some of them while I waited for a class to begin (not the best place to get teary…). Thank you for remembering me, and thank you for your kind, kind comments. I have no words to tell you how much they mean to me.