Yep, it’s “easier”. Easier in the fact that you load up the ingredients into the pan, put it in the machine, press a couple buttons, and POOF! An hour and a half later, bread…sort of. Sometimes it was perfect, tall, spongy, and tasty. But more often than not, it was dense, short, and tasty (always tasty, it is bread after all). Where was this inconsistency coming from? This was a machine, machines are supposed to be the modern world answer to perfection, speed, and consistency. But it wasn’t there.
I’ve spent many periods of my life wishing time would pass faster, wishing things would happen faster. Most of that time was also spent frustrated that it wasn’t happing that way. I wanted the success of bringing a business to the point of financial stability, but didn’t appreciate the journey. Each little step; my first client, my first sale, my first month turning a profit; it was never big enough to make me stop wondering and wishing when I would feel really good about it.
Most parents experience moments of wishing their kids would grow up just a little bit faster. Wouldn’t life be easier if he could talk? Won’t it be more fun when she can run? When is that day when I can just sit on the bench at the playground and chill out while my kids play without me worrying that they are going to fall and hurt themselves? And when those days come, they bring new challenges, which can sometimes lead to wishing the time away again.
Now that life has slowed down, I am experiencing something that was almost foreign to me before…patience. I realize a day is just a day, and I can choose to spend it however I want. I don’t have to do everything fast, I can just do whatever I decide. The process is the success. It’s still hard to wait for that garden to start producing come summer (summer is coming again, right?), but the kids can grow at their leisure, I am enjoying the moments that Ani isn’t in school, and the fact that Kai can’t ride his bike yet. It means I still get to enjoy this time…knowing that the next step is coming, when it comes. I enjoy every new venture, new creation, and new step in self-sustaining our existence…I can see the power in every step, and am not interested in spotting the finish line…this is a marathon I intend to run as long as I can. I figure the longer the better…more scenery.
Two weeks ago I got tired of rushing through my bread making. I decided to see what I could do without the bread machine. I got off my bookshelf a beautiful book called “the Tassajara Bread Book”. From page 15 to page 29 are the instructions for making a basic loaf of bread, complete with diagrams. Chris and I followed those instructions carefully, slowly, and patiently. In total, I think it took about 5-6 hours. From making the “sponge”, to kneading, resting, punching, folding, shaping, resting, and baking we saw this bread through, and it was the only thing we really did that day. We were like kids waiting for Christmas whenever the timer would beep letting us know we were ready for the next step. And when that bread came out of the oven, I was in awe. It was perfect, quite likely the best bread I have ever had. On one of the very first pages of the book is a dedication from the author, Edward Espe Brown, that reads:
Rock and water
Wind and tree
Bread dough rising
Vastly all are patient with me.
The world is patient with all of us, giving us nothing but time to experience everything we want to. I am finding it much more rewarding to work with rather than against the world. Take a walk, build a fort, make bread…from scratch, in the oven. Oh, and get your hands on this bread book, you won’t regret it.