early rising

making coffee and mixing banana bread batter at 5:30am is a commitment. as i dedicate the next hour to the age old process i am mindful of a feeling, something like gratitude, that buoys me along. and now the bread is in the oven and we wait.

as i was measuring and mixing the ingredients this morning, my mind was thinking of all the bakers everywhere. anyone who ever combined flour, salt and time. thinking of my grandmother who made home made bread almost daily. my grandmother who left me her bread bowl. thinking of my mother whose recipe i am using now. thinking of the bakers whose hands mix and kneed daily bread for people all over the world.

if you have ever made bread, even the sweet breads, you know how much energy and strength it takes from the bakers body. this morning, after the vegetable oil and sugar were creamed and i was mashing the bananas, i felt a twinge in my hands, right where my thumbs meet the muscle in my palms, and i thought what an athlete a baker is. what an absolute disciplined and strong body a person must have to truly be a true baker. even now, as the bread is baking in the oven, there is a small ache in the corners of my hands.

that small ache connects me to myself through stories, confections, recipes handed down through generations, memories of warm bread and melting butter in my child mouth, directions written in faded pen in my well-worn book of instructions for connecting with them all. that small ache is knowledge handed down from stronger hands than mine. today i am grateful for this day and the possibility to rise early, open my beloved book, find and measure the ingredients for the bread we will eat for breakfast, smell the scent of it rising; all wall watching a divine Sunday sunrise as a hundred Canadian Geese gather along the shore to cheer me on with their deep clucks and moans of communion.

from my book to you imaginary reader
today’s bread

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