When I was eleven, I was convinced that someday I would become an Olympic ice skater.
All I needed was to step foot in an ice skating rink. There, I told myself, I would float across the ice, spinning and twirling in a sparkly leotard so gracefully that a famous skating coach would see me from her spot in the bleachers and say there, that girl, she will be my famous ice skater. The rest would be Olympic history.
That is until Mimi finally gave in to my pleading and took me ice skating one Saturday. I had been to hundreds of ice rinks– in my imaginative mind. For some reason the real ice rink was different. Too different. For the first hour, I clung to the side of the rink experiencing a mixture of confusion, fear, and loathing for all iced things; there would be no coach, no blue leotard bedecked in white glitter. I was crushed.
But for some reason I hung on. I wobbled my way around, clinging to the side wall. Towards the end of the second hour, I managed to push off and stand a couple feet from the rail. And by the start of hour three, I was free of the rail and glided in short bursts with my arms balancing to either side. It was magical. But then it was time to leave.
I’m remembering ice skating dreams as I reflect over my past four exhausting, wonderful years at Davidson. At first it was rough to get my footing; I worked twelve hours a day, signed up for thirteen clubs, and stayed up late talking with good friends in the little time between closing my eyes and doing it all again.
But with a semester of balanced living and eight-hour slumber nights behind me, I can confidently say I’ve gotten the hang at all this; I’ve written more A plus papers, cooked for more dinner parties with friends, and had more time for myself than ever before. I have pushed off the rail and finally got the hang of college life.
Which is funny because it’s almost over. Why does life change just when we feel like we get it?
I think it’s the universe’s way of keeping life surprising, humbling, and beautiful all at the same time. Life is about finding nourishment in whatever uncertain, ever-changing form of light appears to us.
This coarse pepper seared salmon with cranberries and leafy greens is definitely one form of nourishment and light. After savoring this salad’s omega-3s and antioxidants, you might even push away from the side rails in your world and achieve even the loftiest of Olympic ice skating dreams.
Cranberry and Salmon Chard Salad
- 1 salmon filet, cut in half, skin-on
- coarse salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch of chard or other leafy green
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
- Lightly steam chard and let cool while you start a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Add salmon to hot pan and coat, side facing up, with 1 pinch of coarse salt and 1 pinch of coarse pepper. After 5 minutes turn filets over and add minced garlic. Let the garlic and salmon caramelize for 4 minutes and then turn off heat.
- Toss chard, cranberries, and balsamic vinaigrette. Divide on to two plates and serve with salmon filet. Bon Om-ega!