I just came back from a two week trip to Germany with so many images and places stuck in my mind.
This Athena bust is a Roman copy of a Greek statue from around 400 BC. Her power rushes across the room and punches me in the heart.
How could someone in a world so different from mine – with different parameters, knowledge, struggles – produce this work that strikes me so deeply? It’s evidence of a human condition universal across time and place, and I don’t even mean that in a warm and fuzzy way.
Then this torso – I am angered by the Christian vandalism, parts removed and chest carved with crosses. I write down the saying on the outside of the sister museum, “Artem non odit nisi ignarus” (only the ignorant hate art). I am disgusted by the idea of original sin and its self-hatred.
But a few days later, I am taken by the sweet smell of incense in a giant stone cathedral, floored by the melancholy organ.
We visit high-vaulted brick churches and I think how transformative it would have been to stand in the same place in 1300, to be bathed in music and mystery for the first time. Later, I learn that their construction created wastelands as nearby forests were decimated to keep the fires burning to bake bricks. It is all so complicated. In young America, it’s easy to think that it’s not.
No photo of the primitive weapons from Germany in the first century AD, but you’ve seen their kind. Surely they saw some brutal fights. Did any of my ancestors use weapons like these? Suddenly I am overwhelmed with the many lives and struggles and fragile coincidences that led to my existence, and I remind myself again (as I do every day) never to waste it.
This improvised salad turned out to be my favorite of the summer…so far. We had a little bit of delicious Castelmagno cheese left from our last visit to Persimmon Provisions and it was perfect on this salad, but it would have been great without cheese too.
Recipe: Lemony Arugula / Shaved Zucchini Salad
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups (packed) arugula
- 1 large zucchini
- 1/2 cup capers, drained (or less, to taste)
- 1 oz salty aged cheese, crumbled or shaved (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard, and sugar until well combined. Taste and add more sugar if it is too acidic. Stir in the lemon zest.
- Slowly drizzle in oil while whisking. You can always use more oil, too, if you’re in the mood.
- Add arugula to the bowl and, with your hands, mix and massage the dressing into it.
- With a vegetable peeler, peel the entire zucchini into long ribbons (you can just do it over the bowl – it’s going in there anyway).
- Add capers and toss to combine.
- Divide into bowls and top with cheese, if desired.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) Cooking time:
Number of servings (yield): 2
We went on an amazing trip to the Galapagos last month. We saw and did so much, I knew I had to keep a journal to remember everything. Some of my fellow travelers asked me to scan it, so I figured why not share with the internet too? (Click for an interactive version).
I love to keep a paper journal but it’s been difficult to find the time in the last few years, so I relished the chance to spend a computer-less vacation with pens and paper. The notebook is made by Michael Roger and the markers are Staedtler Triplus Fineliners (both found at the Brown Bookstore during a quick lunchtime shopping spree). I have very little drawing experience and sometimes I feel held back by a perfectionism which I have little chance of achieving, so I ONLY brought pens, no pencils. If I made a mistake, I made a mistake – it was freeing and fun.
I thought the journal might be interesting to anyone considering a trip to the Galapagos who wants to get an idea of what it’s like. You have to visit the islands with a guide, so an organized trip is the best way to go. Our trip was organized by Beyond Your Backyard Adventures, a small trip geared towards people who really want to get out and see everything (no whiners!) We had an amazing experience and are still working through thousands of photos.