"I should take more time to be bored," I wrote to my friend, thinking about how rarely I'm alone with myself and the world, without a book, or a phone, or even a pen and notebook for distraction. "If you're bored," she wrote back, "you're not paying attention."
I’m not paying attention most of the time. I let my days become habit, let familiarity carry me forward while my mind wanders. How often am I entirely present to routine tasks: to mixing dough, or to eating dinner, or even to greeting a friend?
Stepping out of the back door of the kitchen yesterday with my bike, I looked up at the sky and smiled. The sun was shining, and I was in its light. I was absurdly pleased with myself for escaping that windowless space. That I'm my own boss, and was pulling one over on no one but myself, did nothing to lessen my satisfaction. The trees on the hill were glowing yellow-green-orange, soft-edged in the humidity, like a tinted, just-out-of-focus photograph. Clouds blew by, moving fast. I passed a garden overrun with dozens of crows, and stopped to watch four of them jockeying for position as queen of the sunflower. One flew up and landed beside me on the fence, so close I could see the glossy pattern of her feathers. She turned an eye on me, then flew away.
I rode on, startling a flock of starlings, who swept up in a smooth comma from street to wire, so beautiful my chest filled. “There are moments,” I thought, “when the body is as numinous as words."
Back inside the clatter and roar of the kitchen, I took a moment to grieve the loss of all that beauty and light. And then I reached out and put my hand on the dough, feeling the life inside, the microbes expanding the alveoli with each exhale, as they breathed in the oxygen those glowing trees breathed out, and turned it into rising bread.
Red & White, Mountain Rye, Vollkornbrot
Bittersweet Chocolate and Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies
It's going to be a little wild out today, but you hardy northwesterners aren't scared of the rain (I hope). Put on your boots and rain coat, and come to market!
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