Some couples have make-up sex. Others bake. The other night, my husband asked if I'd like to bake some coconut "macaronis." It was 8:30 p.m. I was already in bed and had been there for three hours trying to pretend I was sleeping when really I was fuming. "Macaronis?" I asked. Giuseppe held the Joy of Cooking to the light. For the first time that day, I smiled. "We're just missing a couple of ingredients," he said with his charming Italian accent. It turned out we were missing two out of the four ingredients that go into making coconut macaroons. Like most angry people, I didn't really want to be angry. The "macaronis" were a perfect excuse to get out of bed. "Let's go to the bakery," I suggested.
Luckily, we live within a few minutes' walk from The Moon Over Naikoon Bakery (which, incidentally, has opened again for the winter: Saturdays and Sundays 11 to 5). The bakery and I have a tacit agreement. When it needs ground ginger or an onion, I retrieve them from our cabin. When I need a teaspoon of vanilla or an egg white, its sliding glass doors magically open and all is well.
The moon truly shone over Naikoon as we navigated our way along the dark forest path. At the top of the small hill leading down to the bakery, Giuseppe shone his flashlight up into the trees. I stopped: "Wait." I craned my neck to see the tops of the spruce crowns, but they soared higher than the beam could reach. All around us tall dark forms reached up into the night, branches touching stars. In that moment, I remembered we live in a forest. A magnificent forest.
It seems I've turned into one of those people who can't see the forest for the trees. This is especially disconcerting since we live in a 179, 500 acre forest. You'd think a place of such grand dimensions would inspire one to embrace the bigger picture. But what if you have no idea anymore what the bigger picture is? What if the forest melds into the dark mass of night? Then you bake macaroons.
The macaroons wouldn't stick together at first. But we managed to plop them onto the baking tray and they managed to come out looking somewhat edible. Of course, it didn't matter. We were laughing again. At nothing. At everything. And the next day, and the day after that, I looked for the forest beyond the trees. I'm still looking. I know it must be there. Somewhere. Everywhere.
Thank you for reading.