As his little body seemed to hover above the water for far longer than normal. I couldn’t help but smile. With legs bundled beneath him, his arms outstretched in an open air embrace, and that smile. That huge smile on his face.
Pure and absolute joy.
And it was contagious. Days later I still smiled at the thought of it. That summer imagery of my son’s face mid jump into the pool, will be forever etched into my mind. This was joy at its very best, but it also got me thinking. As an adult, how often do we feel an emotion in its purest form?
When those little legs jumped, he wasn’t performing, he wouldn’t have even known I was watching. He jumped with an expectation that it would be fun and that simple happiness radiated out of him. It shone out of him.
As an adult those true emotions seem to be too easily brushed away. Too often we seem to squash, ignore, or simply refuse to acknowledge them. Never letting them see the emotional light of day as it’s either deemed; not acceptable (quickly brush those tears away) no time for proper acknowledgement (yes, we really need to get going/ do something else) or maybe just too confronting (that feels way too hard!)?
Small feelings of contentment, frustration, annoyance and briefly happy no problem, I can easily visit all of those within the same day. But those whole emotions, that’s something else. Something different.
I think it starts with noticing these smaller ones too though, being aware and really sitting with them for a moment. As an adult our emotions seem to get watered down a bit- so many things to do, multitasking, rushing, clock watching, looking ahead and most of all dismissing. But what about the here and now? What about noticing those tiny bubbles of excitement in the pit of your stomach at that knock on the door. Or stopping to watch your child experience something right before you. What are they feeling? As children, they are usually feeling a hell of a lot, and it can be pretty amazing to be a part of.
Obviously, it’s not always a positive thing. I recently saw something, that in the past had stressed me out greatly. The instant adrenal response was actually really interesting.
Every. Single. Fibre of my body was lit up. Fight or flight, I didn’t have to make that decision but the body response, that was interesting. Really interesting. In this moment, my curious brain actually over rode the stress of it all, (which helped.)
Going back to absolute joy, and that’s what I watched on my daughters face recently. For a music loving family, somehow she had got to being past two years old and had never held ear phones before. Watching her little face discover that there was music coming out of those tiny ear pieces was…exquisite.
To her ear she would hold it, take it back down to her hand, examine it, frown a little and laugh in amazement as she would hold it up to my ear for me to listen to as well. Back to her ear, and then to her hand. This was the most amazing discovery of her morning and it brought pure absolute joy, to both of us.
While I can’t begin to imply that this tart will bring that kind of pure emotional happiness on eating a slice or two. I can vouch for tiny bubbles of excitement on eating a great apple. Supermarket ones, yep, won’t cut it, not at all. Visit your local farmers markets, find out when the season is, and buy up.
Like watching a little person discover the joy of music coming out of earphones for the first time, a great seasonal apple?
It really can, be absolutely joyful.
Apple and Almond Tart
4 apples- peeled, cored and diced
100g raw sugar
zest of half a lemon
50g almond meal
150g cold butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp bitter almond aroma (or say 75g marzipan)
300g plain flour
1 tbls cold water
In a blender, pulse flour, sugar and butter until resembles bread crumbs, (add the marzipan in here if using it.) Tip out to a bowl and add almond aroma (omit if using marzipan), egg yolk and cold water. Knead lightly until it comes together to form a smooth dough. Cover and and chill in the fridge for about half an hour. Then roll out for your pie shape.
For your apple mixture, add diced apples, sugar, lemon zest and almond meal. Mix together and spoon mixture into pastry lined dish.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes at 180C.