On baking bread.


I am not the first person to make bread.  I didn't invent the recipe, the recipes!  I could walk a couple hundred meters and buy a loaf of bread, a couple hundred more and yet, another.  They would put it in a sack and I could place it on the table, and it would fill, but never feel.  So I take the hours and give it what it kneads, and let it rise, and heat it until it is the color of calm and tastes of forgiveness.  The house is filled with a scent that says, oh, yes, I did... I did make this!  I have no sack, no receipt, just a house filled with the scent of "I made this with my hands..."  A scent that reminds me of what my grandmother said when I gave her a beautiful Christmas tin of nuts and candy -- she said, "These will only be eaten when the occasion is right, the moment is special, and if you come to see me, whenever, for no reason at all, I will give you some, you will eat them, and know that you are special."  I make the bread so the house carries the scent of "you will eat this, and know that you are special." 

I did not invent painting.  I did not start an art revolution - yet - but I paint every day.  I paint a bird and know that the most beautiful painting is soaring bravely, and easily and gently through the sky.  I paint a mountain and say, I climbed it, twice. I paint a cowboy and say, quoting a favorite line from a favorite book - "I was ridin' when I fell off, wasn't I?" (Cormac McCarthy).

I write a story with a language I didn't event.  Every combination of every letter and every word has been made, and I gather them and shake them and coddle them, coddle them so close to my heart, hoping they grab a tiny piece and tell you that you are special.  Tell you that I may not have invented love, or this language, or these words, but I have loved you with this heart, this broken and imperfect and kneading, beating, paint-splattered heart, that has fallen and gotten back up again and still loves, and mostly you. 

This day, the house is warmed by the scent of bread.  And it's ok, that I didn't invent it.  But I will make it again and again.  And I will paint, and sketch and paint again. I will write on paintings and tables and sides of buildings and hearts. And if the scent and the colors and the words, all mix with a piece of this heart, and say together, "Oh, yes I did", it will be the only way I can be sure I ever lived at all. 

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