The Meaning of Deadline

I love the word deadline. I love the sound it makes as it whooshes past.
– Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

There is a photographer  in Iowa, Mark Hirsch, who photographed the same tree
for  365 days. There is something very loving and methodical in such a commitment. It reminds me of a long marriage or the  way a man will go to the same dead-end job every day to feed his family or the way a woman will keep putting her kids first and do without every single thing she needs just to watch her kids grow up with what they want. More than that, watching the report on the photographer, I learned that things happen that change your perspective. He had a job and they let him go. They didn’t need any more print publication photographers, thank  you very much. Next, he had an accident. There had been this tree Hirsch had  passed on a rural road nearly every day. It had always been there. One day after  the accident, the man realized he needed that tree. He needed to stop and  photograph it. He needed to capture it.

The  Cherokee believed that a camera snatched your soul and stored it in the box. It must have  sure seemed that way to look at that great square chamber with the fire pluming out and embers burning into the air, and the image appearing under  water like something from another dimension. Poof! Another soul, gone! In the old days, developing a photo must have seemed like creation itself. There’s something to that line of thinking, that a photograph captures the essence of an object, person, or living thing, maybe even catches that thing or person showing off its true inner self with its guard down, how it really is all the time. Even when no one is looking.

I used to think of deadlines as arbitrary dates set by a boss or a blind bureaucratic
organization beyond which, if not observed or adhered to, penalties would be
assessed, heads would roll, jobs would be in jeopardy. Steps would be taken.

I now think of deadlines as points in time when something comes down out of another
dimension, snaps a picture, and serves up the truth. For me, it was a neurological illness.
I discovered that everything I  ate was either part of the problem or part of the solution.

That had been true long before I got sick, but it soon became a matter of getting better or getting worse, a choice between living and dying.

I have learned bits of nutrition wisdom in the most unlikely places. At my son’s Tang Soo
Do class, the master teacher told me about the healing powers of honey. Specifically, he said, honey attacks bacteria. A woman from a Georgia mountain community shocked her grandson’s Vanderbilt physicians when she applied a honey-cinnamon paste to the boy’s burns. The burns healed. The doctors discovered that the honey-cinnamon combination destroyed the bacteria.

I have been on a three year journey to discover the healing properties of food, cooking my way through a year of decadent gluten-free recipes to prove to myself that it can be done. Organic food and natural oils have brought me new friends and taken me to unexpected places. My house has turned into a gathering place for women and children learning alongside me to cook with clean ingredients. At some point, we can kill ourselves with food or we can change our eating habits and make our lives richer. It comes down to simple changes, like this end-of-summer recipe for homemade clean ginger ale.



Ginger Ale made with Essential Oils
Sliced ginger root, 1 drop lemon oil, 1 drop lime oil, 1/4-1/2 cup raw honey, supply of sparkling water, 4 cups spring water
Combine spring water with sliced ginger root in saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Add lemon, lime, and honey to make syrup. To ice in a glass, add part ginger syrup and part sparkling water. Garnish with lemon or lime wedge.


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Writer, mom, reformed culinary disaster. Maker of legendary potato salad.

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