The Summer of My Discontent: Survive or Prevail?

Dear Friends and Cooking Comrades,

Welcome back home!

I’ll be honest with you – without turning this into a weepy confessional, or over-sharing (we have Reality TV and daytime talk shows for that), it’s official:  I have the summertime blues.

You know the song, “There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”?  I’ve been living it.  And I’m usually a really upbeat person, or I work hard to be.  So it stinks like rotten fish.  Did my sense of humor disappear in a heat wave?  Exactly how do I find my way back to hunky-dory?  Maybe you know the feeling.

And then I look out the window and see the apples in the trees.  They’re small and green, but they keep growing.  They still plan on turning red, coming into full sweetness and nourishing someone.  They grow because they must.  Could they get bugs or worms, get hit with a hail storm, or suffer an early frost?  It’s possible.  But those apples still grow, and ripen, miraculously without worry.  They somehow know that it takes time and toil to come to fruition.

So like Sir Isaac Newton, who had to have an apple bean him on the noggin’ to figure out gravity, the apple has taught me hope.  Bingo!  That’s the cure for the summertime blues:  Hope.

Here’s the thing of it, by stopping to consider an apple tree, we gain the perspective to prevail, not just survive.  Surviving is getting something to eat on the table with little effort, scarfing it down with little awareness and enjoying it very little.  Think of the heartless ping of the microwave.  Prevailing is cooking with inspiration and savoring it.  It can be simple and quick, but simple can be thoughtful and delicious.  Maybe sitting at the dinner table awhile longer and taking a breath.  Reading one more page of a book we’re enjoying.  Taking a second to call a friend.  Counting fireflies.  Allowing time and space to propagate hope.

Setbacks take time to register and get used to before we can move forward again.  Discouragement has to settle before we can step over it.  At times hope seems impossible, yet like an apple hanging from a tiny stem we can hang on, too.  If I can argue with another old song, God did make little green apples.  It gets better.  Hope – like the long days of summer –  becomes more.  It’s an 8 pm sunset.  It’s a ripening apple.  It’s something bigger than our current circumstances.

If you find yourself with the summertime blues, shatter your routine of just surviving and prevail with the hope and the astonishing miracle of a growing, ripening apple.


Chef  David


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