Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~ John Muir
“Better than sliced bread……”
Now that’s a phrase I hadn’t heard in a while. Walking across campus this past week, I passed a group taking a tour, that phrase left hanging in the floating air behind their push onward to see more buildings. It’s a funny little phrase, so deceptively simple, conjuring up some strange historical moment when people were in awe of that newfangled item of pre-sliced bread.
In the weeks since the new year, my husband was back in the hospital again, bent on discovering our new town via the medical community it seems. He’s home and doing better, on the mend again. But after sitting through another round of late dark nights in a hospital room, listening to the sounds of breathing in the middle of the night, to cries of “Help me” from faceless voices down the hall, to the opening chorus of a Bach minuet that the hospital plays each time a baby is born, I was intimately reminded of the fragility of moments.
In the rush of each day, each meeting, hour, minute, breath, I often forget that they are once in a lifetime moments. No matter how many meetings, or breaths, or days I have, each is unique, each is history the moment after it happens. And when I forget that, when I lose myself into the hustle and bustle instead of being aware of it, I lose a connection to myself, one that I crave and need and rely on to get me through every other part of what I do.
So this weekend, I took time to reconnect, to settle internally, in the best way I know how for me — cooking. More specifically this time, to bake bread. There’s just something magic in working dough, end over end, knead after knead, watching the rise of it, a living thing as the yeast works its magic. Nothing more healing that sitting down, arms slightly tired, and smelling freshly baking bread perfume the air. Nothing more satisfying than a newly-cut slice of warm from the oven bread, a dab of melting butter oozing into the crevices.
In that moment, all is good.
And I find it hard to discover much of anything better than sliced bread.