It’s a snow-covered morning where I live. I love the grey tones. I love the two-three inches of snow that rests quietly on the tree branches. It’s an inviting adornment to me. I’ll get my boots, winter coat, gloves, hat — and then walk the neighborhood. And welcome the continued snow to quiet me.
It’s a start to 2023 says the chronos voice of calendar. New starts — hard not to welcome the energy of a few of those. And it’s fun to do so. However, “new start” is also the “continuance” of many things — the kairos of it. Things that were helpful on a regular Monday in August, seven years ago, and that remain potent on this first Monday of January 2023.
My learning and living continues to grow a commitment to simple values and practices that bring life. And relationship with people and circumstance. That animate chosen story and way of being to both live the mystery and to love and contribute to the evolution.
A friend asked me (via text) yesterday, “Any resolutions?” I chuckled a bit and spat out a few — “Bake bread. Learn Spanish. Stretch my body for healthy flexibility. Those are all what I’m calling hobbies. Do great work. Grow my own ass. Live a kind and conscious life. Love the shit out of my kids, my friends, myself. Write two more poetry books. Listen, listen, listen. Lead with heart. Be with life. Welcome love.”
Playfulness is important to me. And purposeful. And life-giving. And it’s just me, who I seem to be in this body. I’m learning to love the old soul, young heart, playful spirit in me and in others.
And then there is the poetic that is important to me. That centers me in my nervous system, listening with the most aware heart I can, occasionally putting it to words.
Be patient. Welcome life to flow. With me; with others. Commit to joy. In me; in others. Celebrate.
A snowy start is an invitation to welcome beauty being and beauty arising. Yeah, I’ll take that as a start and as a continuance, of life that I love.
One, baking bread is a new hobby. Yup, I’m a bread lover. Particularly of this kind, quite crusty on the outside, and quite chewy on the inside. It’s a new shape each time. Takes me back to memories of my Granny Fern, known in part for her bread and baking.
The recipe is simple. 3 cups flour. 1 teaspoon salt. 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast. 1.5 cups water. Mix it all together. Cover it for 12-18 hours.
The waiting is part of the fun. The smell of the rising bread fills the house. I let mine rise over night so that I can bake it in the morning. I heat the baking bowl at 475 degrees. I turn the dough on the floured counter to reshape it to a ball. I put it in the hot baking bowl. I bake it 30 minutes with lid on. Then 15 minutes with the lid removed.
Two, I love the baking bowl. It comes from local potter Joe Bennion in Spring City. Of course, earthy. Comes from his hands. I have a few of his items, collected over the years, in my cupboards. Mugs, soup bowls, plates, a few baking dishes, tumblers, shot glasses.
Three, I love this line about poetry and bread from the Chilean Poet, Pablo Neruda — I got it from my friend Katharine Weinmann’s recent post — Neruda says, “Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.” Yup, I’m a poetry lover. With good crust. With chewy center.
Four, a poem. I included this one in Most Mornings. It’s called, In Clarity. I wrote it so as to remember and encourage a freed heart, a peaceful heart. Today I connect it to the simplicity of bread.
I wish departure most mornings.
From all the imposed noise that distorts my inner.
I wish to remain most mornings.
In clarity of freed heart.
Here’s to the freed and peaceful heart of it for any of us, in the dough and in the words.