Erin Maxwell

A Recipe for Calming Down (I miss you so much)

Imagine for me a windy Fall day and a lawn dotted with blooming dandelions. I have a jar of pear honey from the farmer’s market that is best eaten spread on warm, fresh baked bread with soft cheese and drizzled in a cup of warm chamomile tea. The dough for the bread is rising in the kitchen, a soft white sprinkled with thyme, oregano, and basil. It is said that the scent of bread triggers feelings of wellbeing, and it is true that the clean, yeasty scent of buttermilk bread is like being tucked under a warm blanket.  Take a weary step to the bed and tuck yourself under the thick, soft blankets there while I prepare this treat for you. Count the stars on the ceiling as they fade from brilliant green to white and I’ll tell you the recipe. Don’t worry, don’t worry, now, it’s not a complicated thing. One deep breath. A playlist that makes you want to dance, and the dancing that you do.  The desire to stand for twenty minutes gently kneading bread—folding it back, twisting it sideways, folding it forward, feeling how warm and soft it is in your hands. Enjoying the quiet rhythm of it. Use thick, cushioned gloves to put your bread in the oven. Be prepared to spread butter across the top so that it melts down the sides and into the seams of your oven-baked bread when it’s done. And when you have it there, the bread you’ve put hours into, you are free. You could take a handful of it hot and rip it from the loaf. You could gently slice it into eighths. There’s butter, cheese, and jam laid out on the table and if you are feeling a little sick, we could make a brothy soup to dip it in. This crunchy, buttery, fresh-baked bread will be yours alone to enjoy, or to share as you wish. Your breath, your dancing, your hands made it taste this way, kind and thoughtfully buttery. You don’t have to worry if I’ll like it. We all eat, sleep, bump into furniture, cry for no reason, cry for too many reasons. I already like it, and you haven’t even made it yet. I like it because it came from your hands. But now it is time to return to my kitchen. My bread is ready to take out of the oven. I have worked it slowly with my own hands, and danced across the tiles of the kitchen floor, and sang lullabies to it to pass the time without you. You’ll be able to taste the difference, I promise. We can sit on the lawn under the lemon tree and spread whatever we like on its slices. Take me by the hand and we’ll go picnic together. 

Wouldn’t that be lovely?