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Personal Legends

The stack of books on my nightside table is getting smaller. The Alchemist, given to me by a friend almost a year ago, just reached the top. I’m glad it waited in the queue. Right now is the right time.

The Alchemist is a story about a shepherd boy who sets out on a journey to discover his ‘personal truth’. The journey takes him from his flock of sheep in southern Spain to Northern Africa, then across the desert to Egypt, then back again. Early in the journey he is robbed and forced to stay in Tangier to earn enough money to continue his journey across the desert to the Pyramids of Egypt. He finds work in a quiet crystal shop at the top of a hill. The shop is owned by a man who had never left Tangier, never ventured beyond his safe life to discover his ‘personal truth’. It was too late, he thought. So there he stayed, in his dusty shop, until the shepherd boy came along. The boy dusted the shop until the crystals glistened. Customers noticed the change and business began to pick up. The boy arranged to have a display case placed in the town square, to entice people up the hill to the shop. Sales increased. But the customers were thirsty when they reached the shop, and visited a nearby cafe serving tea instead. So the boy suggested the owner serve tea to the customers from their crystal glasses.

“That is what they deserve after a long climb up the hill,” said the boy.

Soon the customers were buying crystal glasses for their tea. In less than a year the boy had earned enough money to continue on his journey.

During this time of isolation, we can’t travel to Egypt to find our purpose. We can barely leave our front door. So here we sit, with ourselves, to figure it out.

I’m figuring it out as I make vibrant green juice. I’ve never been great at remembering to take the fish oil that languishes on the door of my fridge, or that multivitamin in the cupboard. But I love making juice. Perhaps it’s the physical process – the chopping of ingredients and plunging them down a shoot. Or the satisfying whirr of the engine followed by the gentle flow of an emerald elixir, spilling from the spout. I don’t indulge in juice as often during these days of isolation; a few rounds uses up the week’s produce. But today I went for it. A friend was coming by to photograph food through my kitchen window. It’s an isolation collaboration of sorts, the sharing and documenting of food, with glass as the barrier. Her journey to my kitchen window involves a diversion on her daily walk and a climb up a ladder, eight months pregnant. So I changed out of my sweats, put on a dress, and poured the juice into a crystal glass.

photo @justinebarnhart

ingredients for green juice

Green Juice, in Crystal

Serves 2

1 English cucumber, chopped
¼ fennel bulb, trimmed of its stalks
2 green apples, cut in half
2 big handfuls of kale
2 stalks celery
any citrus on hand – an orange, half a grapefruit, half a lemon
a few fresh mint leaves

Juice and serve.