I chased after summer, grasping at every little moment before it slipped out of view. This summer has spilled over with sunshine, backpacking trips, and relishing the freedom from a schedule that becomes a task master over our time. I was keenly aware that a busy reality was waiting just outside wings. I was not ready to bid the sweet season farewell. I wanted to hold onto it a little longer, adding in a few more camping trips, days spent at the pool, and lazily reading in our pajamas until ten in the morning.
Picnic basket in hand, we set off for a quiet dinner at our favorite park to bid summer farewell. The light sunned my back as I set out a simple dinner containing the last of the season’s tomatoes and berries. We sat down and began to devour our petite plates of food. I listened as the kids practically talked over each other, sharing moments of their day. I felt my chest relaxing as I could breath deeper. My heart felt less burdened. In an instant, it hit me that this moment was pure magic: the happy hearts sharing pieces of their days;the Puget Sound just below our dinning spot; hearing my daughter thank my son and he responding “That’s what big brothers are for, to be kind to their sisters,”; watching the kids run uninhibited, exhilarated with a sense of freedom to explore wherever their hearts desired and silently grasping my husbands hand as we walked back to the car. All these things wrapped us up and transported us away from stresses and life problems. We were sheltered for that brief time from the problems that lay nearby. It was a pocket of peace where stress and problems couldn’t creep in. It was a place of rest for a weary soul . If this moment could be manufactured, I would quickly become an addict. To press pause on time marching forward was all I could hope for. To savor my daughter’s laughter, to soak in my son’s warm smile, to exchange knowing glances with my husband from across the field, would be the moments I would stretch out to go on forever. This is worthy of chasing after. They fill places of my heart which a successful career, material goods, and other pursuits cannot reach.
Oh that I may always remember these moments of pure bliss.
The air was crisp. We strolled along, picking the last of the season’s blackberries. We pushed past the thorns to reach the plumpest berries. Our harvest was smaller than last year but our hearts were just as full. A new school year always means an adjustment, a shift for our family. It’s a time to pick up new responsibilities and lay down others. Beginning a new season in life was made slightly easier with an evening spent so well.
Our first early school morning was made much better with these blackberry muffins. The sweet berries with the moist crumb of the muffins warmed our bellies and helped us get ready for a year of learning and growing.
Browned Butter Blackberry Muffins
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg (around 1/8-1/4 teaspoon depending on taste)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the butter and place it in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, melt the butter. Once it begins to brown (you will know once it begins to smell nutty), remove from the heat. Let it cool slightly. Mix in the sour cream and egg. Set aside. Whisk the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Mix in the butter and flour mixture until smooth. Gently fold in the orange zest and black berries. Place in prepared muffin tins. Bake for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Let them cool slightly before enjoying.