“It takes three things to succeed at that higher level, Rebecca: Intelligence, drive, and passion. There is no doubt you have the first two. But I question your passion. You’ve haven’t shown a true interest in anything…”
For the past three years, I have been almost-daily haunted by this statement from my major professor, stated during my masters defense. After all this time, tossing ideas back and forth, wandering semi-aimlessly in the desert of post-college jobs, I finally can see the pieces coming into focus. I’m slowly coming out of denial and attempting to own up to my dreams, my desires, yes, even my passions.
The clouds and the mist are evaporating slowly. The pieces are finally in focus. This is who I am. There’s a list of things that incite a fury of passionate opinion, cause a burst into dozens of directions, spinning my thoughts so fast the words cannot catch up. Because I’m not one to want to stop once I’ve gotten started, I am longing to shove the remaining clouds out of my way, jam the puzzle pieces together and get to living “passionately.” Finally.
The pieces won’t fit. Fury, disenchantment, resentment. The edges are all mismatched and wrong. I know I’m getting there. But the process is so blasted slow. Come on, I’m thinking. And then I return to the two mantras that continue to keep me going: “Don’t push the river,” a Zen phrase. And a piece of Fr Ignacio’s homily from years ago: “When you ask and there’s no answer, just keep rowing.”
Rowing. And rowing and rowing. Waiting. Listening. Still here, doing the same. Watching the seasons change. Embracing each new one as it comes, trying to not focus on the speed of passing time and the status quo. Meanwhile, I’ll make rhubarb buckle. Candied ginger. Spring. Embracing one of those passions that three years ago, I was too afraid to share. There’s progress, after all.Candied-Ginger Rhubarb Buckle, adapted from Dishing Up Oregon For Crumb: 1/4 cup gluten-free flour 1/4 sugar 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger 2 Tbs. raw coconut oil, melted For Buckle: 1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour 2 tsp. ground ginger 1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 cup (4 0z.) raw coconut oil, softened slightly 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 3/4 cup almond milk with 1 tsp. white vinegar 3/4 lb. rhubarb, cleaning and sliced into 1/2-inch slices 1. Make the candied ginger crumb. Mix the flour, sugar, and candied-ginger into a small bowl. Mix in the melted coconut oil with spoon until nice and crumbly. Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to use. 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch round cake dish with a thin layer of oil. Set aside. 3. Make the buckle. Whisk the flour, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside. 4. Cream the remaining coconut oil together with the sugar, until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs. 5. Add the milk and flour mixture, alternating between the two, until mixture is just combined. Gently fold in the rhubarb. 6. Spoon batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the candied-ginger crumb evenly over the batter. Bake until the top is golden and firm, about 45 minutes. Cool approximately 30 minutes prior to serving.