I wish that showing you these photographs would also let you take a deep gulp of cold, crisp mountain air, and hear how quiet it is. When you live in a city, the noise around you blurs into one chaotic background murmur. Sirens, subway rumbles, car horns all become white noise. As soon as I touch down somewhere else, I'm always alarmed by the quiet. Alarmed! That in and of itself should be a wake-up: Remember to travel to places where you can think.
In New York, people stream past you all day. They push up against you on the train in the morning and jostle your book. They run next to you in Central Park, echoing your labored breathing, and turning the path into a toy city treadmill. They sit on your stoop, sharing cookies and spilling coffee on your shoes.
In Whistler, you can ride a ski lift and see no one. The silence is almost eerie -- it feels palpable, like a quiet nothingness is nudging your shoulder. On our farm in Maryland last weekend, I ran on a towpath along the Gunpowder River for miles. It was just me, a carpet of brilliant red and yellow foliage, and a biker now and again.
Aside from a serious sense of calm, I also brought back from British Columbia this excellent muesli recipe. Don't confuse this with the dry muesli cereal you find in a grocery store. This is the real deal Swiss version, soaked overnight with grated apple and milk. Here we use cream and milk and yogurt for an exceptionally rich, not-to-sweet breakfast.
Creamy Bircher Muesli
Adapted from the Fairmount Chateau Whistler
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
1/4 cup honey (or other liquid sweetener)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 Granny Smith apple
1 cup 2% milk (skim works)
1 cup cream
Add your cinnamon and oats to a bowl and whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt and honey, then add the cream and milk.
Add the dairy to the oats and fold together.
Grate the apple into the oats (squeeze the grated apple to get rid of some of the water before adding -- otherwise it'll make your muesli too watery) and then stir in the almonds.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. The muesli will keep for a week. Just give it a good stir before you serve it.
**Feel free to add dried fruit or other nuts or seeds to your liking.