a week of lost and found and the perfect recipe for muesli

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” Henry David Thoreau

This was a week of losing and finding things.

I lost a silver charm bracelet loaded with sentimental value. It felt like a metaphor for all kinds of other things I’d lost over the years – people I’d loved,  people I’d trusted, my father, my longest term friend who died much too young of breast cancer, places I’d lived and left behind, a gold box-link bracelet that slipped from my wrist while I was riding my bicycle to university years ago, beloved books that ran away and never returned, the only piece of designer clothing I ever owned – a long flowing sheer black shirt – that mysteriously disappeared from a hotel room in Copenhagen, and memories of things that I can no longer fully retrieve.

I know that material things are just that – things. I know that while I was turning my house upside down, stripping beds and looking in teapots and gumboots and other unlikely places for my bracelet – that people were being diagnosed with cancer, or dying, or being born. That relationships were breaking down or being formed. That tragedy and horror and miracles would be unfolding somewhere else on the planet. That life goes on. That a charm bracelet is an insignificant little thing in the grand scheme. I know that.

But still, my mind turned over and over wondering when I’d last actually seen the bracelet on my wrist. I backtracked through the days that preceded – through all the places I’d been – trying to remember some detail that might be a clue. I chastised myself for my carelessness. I heard my father’s voice, reprimanding me, oscillating between anger and frustration and care.

I kept thinking about my father. In my memories he is almost always in the kitchen – wearing an air-force blue wool pullover, standing at the sink, looking out the window – eating a bowl of muesli. Or if not this memory – one of him carrying our huge ginger tabby cat around like a baby, telling it utterly ridiculous things – like Very Important Scientific Facts or reciting “the Owl and the Pussy Cat”. These things stand out for me. If I delve a little deeper there are a million other memories – but these are the immediate ones.

Then, the night before last, I woke in the dead of night, hot and sweaty, my throat sore, tears rolling down my face. I’d been dreaming about my friend, the one who died of breast cancer. I’d had a crystal clear memory of us – 40 years before she died. We were six years old and at Brownies. We were running hand-in-hand, full-tilt, round and round the church hall, screaming with joy, our long hair – hers auburn, mine blond – streaming behind us. Our Brown Owl was the first adult I’d ever met who seemed not to mind noise nor care what we did. So we ran and screamed with complete abandon. Week after week we did this. And it was one of the most joyful things I’d ever known.

This is why losing something is hard. Because it triggers the layers of memories of past losses.

But while I spent my week searching, I found things. I found memories that reminded me of great joys, I found missing socks, and on the floor of my car – an ancient hair barrette that I’d assumed was gone forever. Then, on Friday, at the closing ceremony for a First Nations event, I found a lovely, young teenage girl, who stood in the sunshine reciting a traditional blessing in her own language. And for those few moments while she spoke everything else ceased to exist. Later, standing together in the kitchen, I asked her what the blessing was about – “It’s about thankfulness – for the earth – for each other – all that kind of stuff,” she said, with a beautiful, carefree smile.

All that kind of stuff indeed. I felt as though, in her presence, I’d found a bit of my younger self. I wanted to interview her for a story. So she wrote out her name for me – and told me to look her up on Facebook. I did – and the first thing I found was the Henry David Thoreau quotation above.

This morning, just after I ate my muesli, standing at the kitchen sink, looking out the window, lost in a week of reveries, I found my bracelet.

Here in memory of father – is my recipe for muesli. It’s insanely healthy, a lot less expensive than the packaged kind, and seriously addictive. I eat it with rice or almond milk and a swirl of honey or maple syrup. I think it is the best muesli ever. My dad would have loved it.


Homemade Muesli

2 ½ cup large flake oats
1 cup rye flakes (I buy organic rye flakes at Tara, my local health food store. They’re surprisingly inexpensive and very healthy.)
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips – like large flakes (I also buy these at my local health food store – but you can use whatever kind of coconut you like. Some people like this toasted – but honestly – the whole point of this exercise is that it’s fast, easy, and RAW)
1 cup trail mix (or make your own – nuts, raisins, currants, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, etc.)
1 cup dried fruit – I like cranberries and dried sour cherries
¼ cup ground flax seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

Toss all the ingredients together and store in a glass jar. Voilà perfect homemade muesli!


27 thoughts on “a week of lost and found and the perfect recipe for muesli

  1. How lucky you were to find your bracelet, I know how you felt, I too lost a charm bracelet that meant so much to me and unfortunately never found it. Your post made me think of it again and the memories attached. Your muesli sounds wonderful. I am a big muesli fan!

    1. Suzanne – i keep trying to reply here and my reply keeps attaching elsewhere! Hopefully this time it works…
      I’m so sorry you lost your bracelet and it never came home. You released it to the universe for some cause – of that I am sure. I hope karma though – deals you a beautiful hand in return. xo

  2. Besides being beautifully written you really surprised me (in a good way, off course) with your revelation that you had found your bracelet!
    I’m not so good with breakfast. Still, sour cherries and coconut chips definitely get my vote.

  3. I’ve re-posted this on FB, if you don’t mind. It is a brilliant, bittersweet, heartwarming post that also happens to include a great and significant recipe. Beautiful.

  4. This is such a beautiful post. So many of those thoughts I have thought myself at one time or another. The layers of memories and how they can unfold so subtly or harshly. Thanks for the recipe also – love good muesli.

    1. Thank you Kenley! I’m pretty happy too. 😉
      Am currently addicted to muesli with greek yogurt for breakfast. I seem to go through phases where I’ll suddenly discover (or in this case – re-discover) things.

  5. Lovely muesli recipe,Lindy, and a truly lovely blog. Yes, things are things but we are sentimental people and as long as we don’t put things that mean good memories to us ahead of people or things that truly matter, then I think we are entitled. I am sorry for your losses; I have had several dreams recently where problems in the family were resolved, or my mother was here, and then, to wake and find things different…it’s hard. But I believe your friend is in a good place,(I don’t want to sound weird but maybe she was trying to tell you that),and I believe that you will see her again.
    And I am so happy that you found your bracelet!

  6. Thanks for the recipe, and the memories yours have made well up in me … and for the lump in my throat.

  7. Lindy, I’m so glad you got your bracelet back….and i can totally connect with what you wrote about losing things, people we trust…….This muesli recipe must have mean so much to you and i am sure it has a special taste that couldn’t be found elsewhere. how i wish to make it if the ingredients are not too costly over here…….danny

    1. Thanks Danny! Not sure why muesli always seems to cost so much…. it does here too. Especially the packaged kind. But making it from scratch – at least here – is not so bad.

      Your chicken dish – AMAZING. Loved it. So simple and so good…. thank you! 😉

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