Quite recently, an old friend of mine invited me to her house. I was excited because I was interested in trekking and exploring and this old lady was quite experienced at it. She, in fact, had the necessary resources just behind her house: a wide expanse of mysterious forest that she frequently penetrated. There had been no reported, dangerous wild animals there and I was hoping to be able to go with her one day. Strangely, she had asked me to sleep through a day and go to her at 1:00 a.m. the next day. The Extra Firm Saatva Mattress was anyways not so good for my sleep. I was curious enough to do what she asked, although just hearing the time made me yawn.
I obediently knocked on her door at 1: 30 a.m. (having over slept), but she laughingly pulled me inside and led me to a table. With growing suspicion I looked at the laden table and demanded an explanation. She pointed to a chair which I plopped into with a sullen face (disappointed by the earliness of the hour and lack of any signs that we were going anywhere into the forest). I stared around at the food. Let me tell you, it looked tempting. There were oatmeal-raisin cookies, peanut butter sandwiches, fresh bananas and grapes, salmon, coffee and nuts.
She then proceed to tell me a story (you wouldn't believe the indignation I felt). I listened anyway. Here's the story:
"I have a secret path through the forest. I love spending time with nature and occasionally love to be alone. I'm always looking for spaces untouched by humans. The forest spreads behind my home and I found the path by careful scrutiny of the area. It took me months of using the Google map and several trips of planned....Okay, that's a lie. I got lost.
I was on the lookout for a stream that was supposed to be running through the forest. The area around the stream was mentioned by a few locals in this area as one of the most mystical regions in the country. I was new to the town and this information immediately pricked my already ambitious mind, because they said the stream and the banks had been lost from view for decades due to the overgrowth of the forest. I decided to choose the route I should be following to the stream, before setting out on the actual journey, which I intend to share with a person who loves trekking, too." Here my ears pricked and I looked up hopefully. She smiled and continued, "I wanted to go just a few miles into the forest before returning. I packed a tiny picnic of peanut butter sandwiches, a single bottle of water and set out. Looking back, that was both wise and stupid.
A few paces into the quite unfamiliar forest and I was lost. I found no stream, forgot the way I came and sat down on a boulder: I had forgotten that I was growing old. And FAT. I wished that i had tried the HCG injections advertised on TV the previous morning. I had no stamina to continue and my vision was growing blurry. I remember looking down at the small packet of sandwiches and thinking that if I had had at least the common sense of a little boy like Hansel, I would have left bread crumbs along the way. Nevertheless, I ate them and took a sip of water. To my surprise, I felt a lot better and looking around, found a few Douglas firs. The seemed to form a path and I followed it for a few more paces. It was quite clear that people didn't usually use this area, given the overgrowth of plants. I decided that was my path.
I then finished of the rest of my sandwich and water and then with renewed energy, found my way back home. I marked the way on my map and it turned out that I had not been very far. I'm not joking about the research I did about the path to the stream. I have talked to the old locals and gone on a few more planned trips. It is my conclusion that the path would lead to the stream. My episode with my stamina convinced me that I needed better fuel. That's the reason for the food you see here."
My stomach, with precise timing, gurgled, extracting yet another tinkling laugh from my soon-to-be guide. As we snacked, she said, " I put this meal together in a carefully planned diet for our long day. I will never forget the peanut butter sandwiches that saved me that day. Don't laugh. The fat in it is a great energy boost. Combined with the toast, which is carbohydrate, it will last you a few hours. Oatmeal, which I see you have over looked, digests slowly and will add a few more hours to your energy." ( I hastily spooned in a little).
Well, she went on, but I can give you a basic idea of what all the food did:
Bananas: Potassium for boosting your energy levels. Salmon: Recharges your nutrient levels. Grapes: Has natural sugars that are quickly converted to energy. Nuts: Contains healthy fatty acids and a lot of vitamins. We had almonds and walnuts. Coffee: It is a great stimulant. ( Apparently, she knew I would be drooling-sleepy)
She then packed into our back packs, a mid day meal. There was a meal of brown rice sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, soya chunks, beans and corn. There were also some oranges, bottles of water and a scary bottle of what looked like blood!
Again, I found that the food was not a random mix (I should have known by then) Here is what they do:
Brown rice: Lots of fiber and vitamin B. the complex carbohydrate digests slowly. Soyabean: Increases muscle strength. Corn: Gives glycogen that turns into energy quickly. Beans: Iron content, helps carry oxygen to your muscles. Oranges: Cleanses you and gives you energy. Water: Is the main content of our blood. It will keep us hydrated. Beetroot juice: (Yes, that had not been blood). Contains Vitamin A and C for better stamina.
We went on to have a great day of exploring. We found new areas of the forest walking along the pretty path. Thanks to the food, we were well enough to enjoy it without fatigue. The anti-climax is that we found no mystic banks or flowing stream. We went on several more such treks and I'm beginning to believe that it is afterall a myth and no more. My friend, though, won't give up! Well, I'm happy to go along for the wonderful food she spreads out on these days and the intimacy we feel for the forest now. May be it has to be by accident that we find it, just like she found the path. Fingers crossed.
Keerthana Pisharody is a great story teller with wonderful ideas and creativity. Her articles on healthcare sounds fun and fictional yet inbtriguing. Check out her article on digestacure a natural remedy for people with Auto immune conditions.
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