I recently discovered the simple pleasure of walks. Not walking, the utility of which I discovered almost seventeen years ago now; I mean going on a walk. Same motions, different actions. The fleeting minutes of twilight when the sun is bidding us goodnight is my favorite time.
Usually I set out not knowing where I want to go; I just drift, down one street, around a corner, this way and that, as my mind does likewise. If I get lost, good. I always have the most fun finding my way back.
Somehow, without any intention of ending up there, I find myself again and again at the highway overpass. It’s loud and smoggy from the exhaust rising up from below. I’m always drawn to look over the edge and watch the cars on the right side crawl along in rush hour traffic while the cars on the left whiz past in the opposite direction. Even with arms clenched around the thick steel railing, pink sneakers firmly planted in the pavement, it’s dizzying to watch the river of speeding lights rush below my feet. Whenever a car drives past on the road behind me, my ponytail swishes in the gust of wind following. Standing on that edge, the most pedestrian of edges, is invigorating.
There are also times when I find myself down by the creek, just a stone’s throw away from my house. It’s a narrow trickle of a stream, lined on each side with towering eucalyptus trees, boulders, and wild shrubs. I walked over that creek on a rickety wooden board nearly every day for the past three years, but only recently did I start exploring it. Last time I found a patch of blackberry bushes hidden between a tree and a fence and regretfully noted a few shriveled up berries, souvenirs of what I had missed out on for the past ten summers. If I’m lucky I’ll find a Mr. and Mrs. Duck who are taking a pit stop on their long journey south. I normally sit on a log with my back to the paved road behind me, listening to the chirping birds and flowing water, hoping that if I sit there long enough I might trick myself into believing that I’m in a forest, not the heart of a concrete suburb. I’ve nearly succeeded.
My discovery is hardly revolutionary, but I thought I’d share because if you’re anything like me, you are too busy for walks. You have Things to do. You have homework to finish, grades to stress over, existential crises to think about. You have no time for pointless strolling.
For the sake of your SOUL guys, go take a walk.
Chocolate Pudding (for the Soul)
Deb keeps it real, as always. She knows what’s up. Sometimes we just need a little chocolate pudding without the hassle of separating eggs, going to the store to buy cream, and tempering chocolate. You can make this in your sleep have it in your stomach in under 20 minutes. Pairs well with a walk.
2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
- In a small saucepan whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Slowly pour the milk in a thin stream, whisking the whole time to prevent lumps.
- Place the saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Make sure to get the bottom when you stir. A silicone spatula would be helpful.
- After ten minutes, the mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. At this point dump in the chocolate and continue stirring until it is completely incorporated, another 2 to 4 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the vanilla. Give it one last stir and divide among individual serving dishes. Eat warm or chilled, with a spoon or ladle, for breakfast or dessert.