Tuesday, 19 April 2011
The moment I wake I know that the silence of the night has brought my mind no rest.
Cares, frozen briefly by slumber, surge back into motion the minute morning meets my eyes, flooding my soul with disquiet and scattering my contentment to the wind.
My mind swirls around the events of a long and unsettling week, picking up scraps of awkward conversation and throwing them together with comparisons and conjecture,until the whirlwind in my mind is filled with the all the litter of life.
And so, with a desperate urge to re-center, I set about baking hot cross buns.
I pour, measure, mix and weigh; savouring the earthy smell of yeast, concentrating on the methodical simplicity of the task, and marvelling at the miraculous first pop of the air-bubbles in the sponge.
I wait quietly for the sponge to foam and then I fold the mixture into the flour and bury my hands in the mix.
And as I push my fingers into the springy dough and punch my fists fiercely against its elastic mass my mind races through the events of the week, starting with an unsettling trip to London to see friends who once knew me better than anyone and now barely know me at all, and ending with an awkward day spent with distant relatives whose parenting practices make me pause, and re-consider my own.
And slowly, as the minutes tick by and the dough becomes firmer against my fingers, I feel the cares of the week slip away and the rhythms of my mind align themselves with the slow, steady motion of my kneading.
I look down to see a little boy hovering hopefully around my feet, his eyes deep pools of curiosity, and I lift him up to let him press his squidgy fingers deep into the spongy dough and taste its fragrant goodness on his tongue.
And as we pat the dough together and set it aside to rise, eagerly awaiting the moment when it will fill the house with the warm smell of spice, I wonder at the restorative power of such a simple little task and look forward to a quiet and peaceful day filled with the sweet, doughy comfort of hot buttered hot cross buns.