This summer blueberry salad recipe takes advantage of seasonal greens for a simple and refreshing mix that transports well for picnic adventures.
“I’ve been standing on the edge of the water, long as I can remember, never fully knowing why…. And it seems like it’s calling out to me, so come find me.” I curled on the couch watching the young Polynesian Disney character follow her destiny through song. It was my first time watching Moana, chosen simply because it was one of the few dvd’s in an internet-less cabin, but the seemingly random choice stirred my emotions and lodged in my thoughts.
Emotions welled inside me, envisioning young girls watching a Disney “princess” follow her calling and risking everything to save her island instead of pursuing romance. This message struck even clearer, since I was working at an architecture camp for teenagers, with the larger percentage being female.
My biggest advice to those teens was not about portfolio compositions, or college applications or even whether or not to pursue a B. Arch or a B.A. My biggest advice was to follow their gut when it spoke, when it pulled them elsewhere because society so often says to ignore those voices. Like the cartoon anti-princess, I urged them to listen to the voices inside them.
It’s the advice I wish someone had given me. Quit. Fail. Change course frequently. There is something inside of you that will ignite when you’re on the right path, e.g.: when you’re a descendent of voyagers and you finally leave your island like Moana. However, unlike Moana, I feel most grounded when I am grounded. I feel the whispers of my bloodline when I am in an open meadow and feel uneasy when I stand before a vast ocean. Waves are unpredictable, wild rides, but expanses are merely steps in front of the other.
Where land and water intermingle dramatically, where the deafening roar of water muffles any internal objections, I find a spiritual comfort in the intimidation. Mere sprays of mist feel like a completely immersive experience. Waterfalls, even the small ones, are where I go to feel the power of water with reverence instead of fear.
Waterfalls are where I go to feel small in a way that makes stresses feel small and insignificant. These falls are free reminders to step back from the need to control and the need to plow forward. Their power emerges from constant change. The currents carve the land and rock, the crashes of water spray differently, pool differently and plunge differently from one moment to the next. Waterfalls make it easier to listen to yourself because everything else is muffled.
This waterfall picnic emerged from a place of need, a need for a day off, for sunshine, for a scenery that didn’t blur to the background from overexposure. The Urban Farmer needed water, so we landed here, Springfield Falls, a pocket of clean water in a landscape that is being disregarded, ripped to its core and left to fend for itself. Our city of Pittsburgh is surrounded by beautiful waterways that have suffered the negligence of industries past and fracking, so these escapes have become even more cherished.
The food was light and simple. Pasta and pesto and a refreshing summer blueberry salad with sweet and tangy notes that make dressing almost unnecessary. Our summer salads tend to mix hearty greens with papery light varieties- an exercise in not squandering the Urban Farmer’s harvests.
And the sweet, minty sheepdog, whose bloodline tells her to chase, run and herd, confronted crashing waves for the first time. What to do? How to bite these evasive creatures that crash and disappear? We’re still figuring that one out.
The same ingredients that make the salad flavorful, make hydration even more refreshing, so add those lemons, blueberries and herbs to filtered water, and mix with a dash of honey for a sweet energy boost.
This waterfall picnic happened too long ago, so I’m hoping to find myself on the edge of the water soon, with picnic basket in hand, my best friends beside me, and a chance to escape the chatter and listen to myself.
Here’s to summer escapes!
Ideas for a Summer Picnic
About these recipes: These are suggested flavor combinations, not precise recipes, so follow your tastebuds and the output of your garden or farmer’s market. Then get outside and explore!
Summer Blueberry Salad
Cold Summer Pasta Salad
gluten free pasta, cooked
homemade pesto (with mint or with hearty greens)