Last week Laura was visiting and we decided to make the winding, 40-minute drive to the top of my beloved Mt. Diablo. The recent rains have turned the hillsides a brilliant green, and the white flowers cropping up on the trees remind me that spring is on its way. Charcoal-gray clouds looked magnificent against the bright blue sky.
The visitor’s center on top of Mt. Diablo is in a stone building with an enclosed lookout-tower on top and bears a slight resemblance to a castle. Laura and I had visited our fair share of castles and aged stone churches in England and Italy together and felt faintly that we were reliving those adventures. The same chilly wind that turned our fingers red and made us pull our scarves closer around our necks in Europe was doing the same thing here in California. When we traveled in Europe, we always had some sort of sustenance with us, whether it be cucumbers and bread and butter in England or dried figs and clementines in Italy. On our Mt. Diablo trip we had amaretti, Italian almond cookies light as meringue, and chocolate from Colombia.
I wondered aloud to Laura how fascinating it is that food can have such a distinct connection to a memory. “Wouldn’t it be fun to always have a certain food to associate with a certain excursion? To intentionally add the sense of taste to memories?” I asked. “That is the definition of an adventure,” smiled Laura. “An adventure includes going somewhere you’ve never been, doing something you’ve never done and eating something you’ve never eaten.” I had never thought to define what an adventure is, but Laura and her fiancee Ben, who had heard this definition from a friend, are the authority when it comes to adventures. From now on, I think I’ll work on developing a taste memory. No, I won’t work so hard that I will think myself out of actually enjoying the moment; it will be about noticing tastes and connecting them with my surroundings.