Everything's starting to open back up, but I'm still baking bread. Are you?
Written last month. Link in bio for full post.
For the first time in a long time, years perhaps, we are forced to be with our thoughts, our feelings.
There is no commute. No drinks with friends, no yoga classes, no weekend mountains to climb.
Work is slow, hours are cut. There are no concerts to attend, no Sunday dinners to go to, no airplanes to get on.
In those first weeks, there were perennial to-do items to finally tackle, Zoom happy hours to arrange, a dozen evenings worth of Netflix to watch, an apartment to clean from top to bottom.
But then, as the under-the-sink cabinets were organized and the pile of books next to the bed was read and the screen limit timers on our phones chimed, we were finally left to think. To feel.
And we baked bread.
[cut for Instagram length - please go read the full post - link in bio!]
As we weigh flour and water for the fourth, fifth, sixth time, we realize we feel sadness. As we knead the dough, frustration wells up. A sense of grief as we carefully shape the loaf. For every loss, every uncertainty of right now. For every heartache and transgression and trauma of the past.
The tears come as we scrub at the flour caked bowl.
Resignation, as the timer ticks down.
And then, finally, as the loaf comes out of the oven, a spark of joy.
We don’t bake bread to escape the anxiety producing, seemingly impending doom of the world around us. We don’t bake bread to ignore the ocean flood of feelings that well up. We don’t bake bread to escape the endless soundtrack of our thoughts, a hamster spinning on a wheel.
We bake bread because it’s cathartic. We bake bread because there is magic in the simplicity and healing in the process and balm in the smell of melting butter.
A moving meditation, like climbing a mountain or finding warrior pose.
There is no certainty anymore, but the little things - a perfectly ruddy crust, the way the golden butter pools into every nook and cranny, the taste of the yeast we fermented ourselves - remind us that we are here and we are alive and we are okay and that, that is a reason to feel joy.
And so, we bake bread.