Another Dance

The making of bread is simply another dance, and just as essential to my life journey as all the other forms  of gestural expression.  Begun during my first pregnancy in accordance with a salt-free diet, it has become – over the years – as natural as breathing. The familiar ritual of assembling ingredients is relaxing yet purposeful. The prolonged process of the bread’s becoming is grounding and fulfilling, not to mention magical and life-giving.  The making of bread is a dance that is palatible to every member of my family. The completed dance is a gift I can give to those I love. It is always acceptible.

Yesterday I rose up early: let out the dogs, let in the cat, fed the cat, let in the dogs, fed the dogs, and took out my bread-making bowl. Soon there were large melting clumps of butter in hot milk. There was honey dripping from a spoon into the liquid. And there were oats cascading onto the warm wet surface to float there as though hesitant to be transformed.  My wooden  spoon was merciless; it plunged and stirred, remembering its oft repeated role. Yeast also floats before accepting change. Yet these ingredients are passionate in combination. Once introduced they almost clamor for the union they are programed to desire. I slow things down a bit, just let them rest together, find some stillness before the shocking impact of the flour  which says “No going back… It’s time to yield and blend and take on substance of a different sort.”

I draped a cloth, as though the darkness would encourage rest, then took my coffee and banana back to my bed. I had time to journal before proceeding. My morning journaling is my connecting to the day – I scrawl the words onto the page and seem to find my place in the day, for better or worse. On this particular day I found some sadness. It was the sort of day when familiar motions are the best kind. The impulse to start bread came from a true place and it would see me through.

The flour ran from the bag to meet the bubbly morass that rose in readiness for future possibility. A sprinkling of salt, of cinamon and nutmeg, and the spoon plunged in again. My mixing arm was challenged by the thickening dough. I pushed the mass around the bowl, losing myself in the gradual absorption of the dry ingredients. The flour is eager and resistant simultaneously. I can almost hear a voice re-considering. “Change is good. But do I really want to give up who I am in hopes of my becoming something more?”

But what a something more: The whole house fragrant with the baking of the loaves, anticipation filling up the space and seeping through the walls to waft on cold air through the trees to tell the world the dancer dances and the dance will soon emerge as fresh baked bread. Does anybody sniff the air and wonder who will receive this dance?

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6 Responses to “Another Dance”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Every word a metaphor, every action both what it is and something larger. Beautiful, Leif. Beautiful bread, beautiful photographs, beautiful writing, beautiful living. Who does receive these dances? Who? Who resists change? Who lets go and who transforms into a future possibility? You raise questions for every reader. Who receives this dance? Well, me. And then…?

  2. leiflife Says:

    How tired I am – as the darkness pulls in close around my house. My body sinks in happy satisfaction – that I have written what I meant to write without even trying. Perhaps the simplest stories contain the most wisdom. You understand so well, my friend. I thank you for seeing and seeing beyond the seeing. Thank you for receiving this dance – and for asking “And then…?”

  3. Christopher Says:

    Dear Leif, reading and enjoying, from Madrid, and sending you this painting by Dali, my favorite:

  4. leiflife Says:

    How amazing, Christopher, to think of you reading my blogs in Madrid! It makes me very happy. Wish I could magic myself to a cafe with just such a beautiful basket of bread on the table and you across from me for a real face to face conversation. But even this is lovely – to think of you there.

  5. The Girl from the Ghetto Says:

    I sniff the air! A wonderful post that now has me craving for my great-grandmothers bread!

    Great post, by the way.

  6. leiflife Says:

    Dear “Girl”, a lovely response. Wish I could magic you a fresh hot loaf, but I am glad to have summoned up delicious memories.

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