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Random Reading selection for spring:

“The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.

The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called narcissus.

But this was not how the author of the book ended the story.

He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which a had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.

“Why do you weep?” the goddesses asked.

“I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.

“It is not surprise that you weep for Narcissus,” they said “for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.”

“Was Narcissus beautiful?” the lake asked.

“Who better than you to know that?” the goddesses said in wonder. “After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!”

The lake was silent for a time. Finally, it said: “I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.”

“What a lovely story,” the alchemist thought.

Breakfast: (from The Yummy Life)day 16 of 30 Healthy Eating Challenge

Blueberry – Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal 

  • 1/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup blueberries



I didn’t feel very hungry today so I had a snack for lunch.

18 pistachios

2 dried black figs


Supper: Cinqo de Mayo picnic

Baja Fish Tacos

Atlantic Cod

9 Different Beans in the Pressure Cooker (recipe below)

sliced cherry tomatoes, red peppers, artichoke heart, iceberg lettuce

greek yogurt



soft and hard tortillas

I’m going to go ahead and say it – I’m getting more pro with the pressure cooker. I’ve used it every day since the first day I tried it on the weekend, and I’m feeling (still scared when it’s really rocking) but more sure about my ability to be around it. So much so that I made my first meal inside the pot. A bean soup that is a mixture of 9 different beans.

Pressure Cooker 9 Bean Soup

2 cups of mixed dried beans (dried peas, green lentils, red split lentils, pinto beans, small white beans, small red beans, kidney beans, black beans and black eye beans)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon grape seed oil (the pressure cooker instructions make it clear that you should always have a tablespoon of oil in whatever you cook – I don’t know why, I just comply)

salt and pepper

1 onion choppped

1 carrot chopped

1 stalk of celery chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon chile powder (I put this in because I wanted to mix the beans in tacos)

2 chopped green chiles

6 cups vegetable stock

Directions: Saute onions, garlic, carrot and celery until the onion is soft. Put all other ingredients in. Turn heat to medium-high. Lock the pot. Wait for a rocking cap. Leave rocking for 6 minutes. Take off heat after 6 minutes of rocking. Let depressurize. Serve with low fat sour cream and fresh cilantro.

We love the bean soup, and taking just the beans out for the tacos was also delicious.

Just a final note on the short excerpt from The Alchemist. I have been just dipping into books, not reading them, just reading pieces, but I think for the most part I get it the meaning of the excerpt. Relationships are partially about holding up a mirror for someone else. How else would you remember the memories you have when you look back in retrospect. You can sit in a room with someone and reminisce about all that was shared, and in a mutual way it is like holding a mirror up for the other person to contemplate an earlier self in. Perhaps, I still have a slight cynicism with respect to this idea. We are looking for that in a good friend, in a good partner, in a good relationship – whether we know it or not – we enjoy that someone else can reflect us back. The cynicism is that it seems so self-motivated. It seems so one-sided. The lake didn’t even really see Narcissus. Narcissus certainly didn’t see the lake. They both saw only reflection and that was what was beloved. Perhaps because I associate Narcissus with the concepts of self-love and narcissicm (I mean who wouldn’t?) I’m missing something about this story.  I want to believe that we need and other in order to see our own beauty. Or our beauty is amplified when shared, or seen through an other’s eyes, but…to not see the other person?

With that in mind, I’m left wondering tonight: why is that a “lovely” story in the end?

Next morning, thought: 

The physical book is a mirror for the author (the literary alchemist).

Right…yes – I probably should recognize things like that faster, but still has me wondering about a pool that goes from fresh to salt water. Is the loss a positive one? Does fresh have a higher value content than salt? What is it for a pool to go from fresh to saline ecologically speaking? Is that a eco-metamorphosis or a signal of decline, inactivity/death? There’s a kind of death in the story, yet the narcissus blooms at the spot – in salt water.