It has been such a loud week, and I know that I’ve contributed to that volume. The news of the world and the news here at home, not to mention the constant roar of the air conditioner and the screams of two little boys has really made this week intense. While I was able to accomplish everything that I had on my tasklist this week (including, but not limited to, an average of 2,000 words per day, either in fiction or in blogging), I’m sitting here on Friday afternoon an exhausted woman.
Thank God for the Wynton Marsalis station on Pandora. I’ve got him to calm me down. One day, I plan to visit New Orleans and eat my way though it, listening to as much jazz as I possibly can. And I’m going to make sure that every dish is spicier than the last. One day…
I chose to bake bread today, from scratch and by hand. I love French Toast, King Arthur has a fantastic Portuguese Sweet Bread recipe that I love to us for it. I use orange zest instead of lemon zest when I make that recipe, and today I experimented by using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar. I’m excited to see how it turns out.
I love baking bread, and I’ve learned an appreciation for doing it completely by hand. I do have a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (the best wedding gift that I gave to myself), but on days like this, there is nothing like taking the time and the energy to do your own kneading. I love the process of it, the work that goes into it, the burn in my arms and the cramp of my hands. I love the tangible result of baking bread, and the connection to something quite ancient and important as I use my strength to create pliable dough. My loaf is starting on its second rise, and I absolutely love the smell of yeast that is permeating in my apartment.
Kneading bread takes it all out–all of the thoughts about packing, all of the worries about the house search, all of my annoyances with my realtor, all of the disruptions from the boys, all of my concerns about the republic. It even takes my mind away from the roar of the air and the screaming from my television. The only thing that could better clear my mind would be to find myself on a fishing boat. Heaven is a boat, a fishing pole and a sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay. If only I could be there every day.
It is good to disconnect from the loud, loud world and to reground yourself in the things that comfort. I don’t want to say “the things that matter,” because I think that all of the news that happened this week mattered a whole hell of a lot. We have to be careful when we decide that only the immediate actions and connections of our day-to-day are the ones that matter in life. We live in context, and that greater context can have great ramifications on our precious day-to-day existence. Tuning out the world in the name of false inner peace is foolish. Stepping away briefly but keeping an attentive ear toward the world is important.
There are many things that I want to write about–including the Zimmerman trial, which is very important to me–but I cannot contribute to the loud volume of the week any longer. I’m choosing to whisper on my blog today. Motherhood has taught me a lot about the power of whispers. They are wonderful little tools to get a toddler’s attention or to tell a husband a secret, or to communicate when babies can hear. Whispers can be little songs–like at midnight when the Husband and I know that we should be sleeping but can’t keep our minds and hearts from racing. Whispers seem to be the little strings that keep us together when are bodies are too sore, our hands are too cramped, and our heads a little too full. I can’t tell you how much a whispered “I love you” means at 12:30am. Sometimes it seems so much more powerful and necessary than when it is said with fullness of consciousness at 5 in the afternoon.
I hope that you’ll take the time to whisper today and this weekend. That you’ll listen to the whispers of those around you and delight in quiet company. I wish you giggles and tickles, snuggles and cuddles. If your days are spent alone, I hope your find connection in an email, phone call or skype. I hope that each of you has the opportunity to sleep until you are no longer tired this weekend, and that you fill your mornings with rich food and good coffee. I wish you moments of reflection within the religion of your choice (or a quiet moment of thought if religion is not your thing). I wish you all profound moments, quiet and powerful, dignified and important. Until Monday, when the volume will be turned up again and the pace will resume to break-neck capacity. This blog, most likely, included.