Like many others this time of year, I am happy to be transitioning away from cloudy, frigid days to welcome spring in all of its fresh, vibrant and colorful glory. Walking down the street, I love seeing the brilliant shades of greens, yellows, purples and blues, so as inspiration for this lovely season, I have been inspired to create my Tropical Dream Salad Dressing. And really, when it’s starting to get so hot out, who wouldn’t be in the mood for a crisp, refreshing salad with an amazing dressing?
Today, you will not only be getting a recipe, but also a glimpse of real life, and the loss of life, from my account.
This evening, I came home to my dog lying motionless on his doggy bed. As you might imagine, it was very hard to witness, and throughout all of my grief, I have learned to fully recognize how fragile life is. Right now, being young, healthy and seeming invincible, teenagers especially tend to feel like the world cannot touch them — that life is indestructible.
Now, I know there are those of you out there who have been awoken by a sudden family death and come to realize the true flimsiness of life. To know that everything that matters to you, or all that you have come to believe and trust is shattered in a second. Some of you might be thinking, “Oh, well it’s just a dog,” but to me it’s more than that. Anything living, whether it’s a dog, rat, chicken or squirrel, wants to live. All living creatures have lives of their own, feelings of their own, just like humans. While a dog may just be a pet to some people, for me, every one of my pets aren’t pets, they are people. I feed them, I tend to them, I clean up after them, I worry about them. Not unlike how a mother would to her baby. My pets are my family members, and a lot of times they are much more understanding than people.
Getting ready to eat…
So today I recognize my dog Matthew, who was nearly 19 years old when he died. I have never been without him. And just like humans, he has suffered in his past. When my family first met him, he was in Second Chance, an animal care organization that holds animals who have been abused or hurt. He had come from an owner that had mistreated him horribly. Fortunately, my family came into his life through the organization. Before we adopted him, he was so untrustful and hesitant near humans from the abuse of his previous owner that it took 5 visits before he could muster up the courage to even sniff my mother’s hand.
Life is rough. We are just like leaves blowing in the wind — one second we a drifting peacefully, but the next we are pushed into a whirlwind of new experiences, thoughts, and yes, even death. In some way or another, we have all witnessed it and wondered about the mystery of it. Right now, all I can imagine is how blissful Matthew must be rolling around in snow with all of his animal friends in heaven.
With this memory fresh in my mind, I am glad to symbolize spring as a new beginning — one that brings hope, happiness and sunshine that glows even throughout personal clouds that block our view. I hope that is recipe reminds you of that even though you might have struggled in the past, whether that be in school work, personal matters, or the lessons of life and death, there is always a new beginning. Health, gratitude and love await you.
Tropical Dream Salad Dressing
¼ of a whole pineapple
½ lime, juiced (to taste)
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend! Adjust ratios to your preference.
I hope that life brings you true happiness, and that through tough experiences, kindness, understanding and sincerity. If you are ever having a gloomy day, I’m sure the silky texture and zippy and tart flavor of this salad dressing brings you back to the season of spring and the promise of a new dawn.
Looking ahead, remembering the past…
By Grace Vance
photos by Grace Vance