"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In the bleak mid-winter

The frozen tundra. That is where I am currently living. Every square inch of existence is under snow and ice and the temperature is below zero. It. Is. Cold. This mere fact provides one of the greatest opportunities.......to bake. There is nothing more warming and satisfying then to bake with children and then to eat your creation. Today, we baked bread. Banana bread, in fact, with nuts and lots and lots of bananas.

Charlotte was my helper. She usually is, as it is a most difficult feat to keep her out of the kitchen. So, in an effort to keep things peaceful, she helps......and I love it. I couldn't ask for a better helper. She loves to have her hands in anything. Having my kids in the kitchen is the single most important experience I feel I can create with them. It provides one on one time, a mathematical lesson, patience, and simply joys. There is nothing more joyful than watching the faces on my children when something that they helped bake comes out of the oven, the anticipation that follows in waiting for it to cool and then.......the sweet redemption of pure bliss while eating their treat. Picture perfect.

Charlotte and I also had the luxury to be able to keep an almost constant eye on our bird feeder. The chickadees were the regular diners this afternoon along with a few sparrows and a blue jay or two......or three. Their need to fill their bellies amidst this frozen land is feverish. It is cold here, and getting colder, so, their one and only concern.......food. Fill up, hunker down, stay fat and happy. Well, we're happy to oblige. I wish we could just invite them all in! They could dine on a regular feast of banana bread crumbs, popcorn, and peanut butter.

The banana bread came out. It's amazing how within moments of its ascension from the oven, one loaf is instantaneously consumed. Mere minutes have passed, and already we're down to one loaf. It warms my heart to know that butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, banana, flour, baking soda, salt and walnuts, when mixed together and baked, creates a heaven on earth experience......even for the non-banana lovers in our house.

In this bleak mid-winter, as the love of my life, our youngest daughter, and I share an impromptu dance to John Hiatt's Learning to Love You, I am reminded of the true sentiment of the title. Learning to love in the coldest of times is essential. Every one's getting a little cranky, all cooped up. Moods shift with each snow/ice fall. We're all sharing a lot of time indoors together, without so much as a five minute respite. It's not easy.......that being said, learning to love all that we have and not wishing for anything more is key. Each other, for example. I couldn't wish for anything more than family, by birth or chosen. Food, home, hearth, heart. These things will always lead to successful living. It's a beautiful journey, living together. The ups and downs. The side way turns and frontward and backward jolts. All is well. I'm so honored to be able to share it with you.

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