Here’s a treat from way back during my Associated Content days. Enjoy!
Waiting in the darkness. When you turn out the light it comes.
Whispering, worrying, tormenting.
You toss, you turn – sleep eludes as you continue to be tortured by the thoughts swirling within your mind.
Oozing, shrieking, pulling at you, dragging you inexorably toward an abyss of fear.
Finally, you can’t take it anymore. This demon, this fear, this worry, this concern – you must purge it to have peace.
Walking to the kitchen, you pull out your tools. Two cups of flour, a package of yeast – stirred and set aside.
You take care of the liquids – 2 cups of milk, perhaps one cup milk with water for the rest instead. Perhaps all water, save the milk for the kids. A tablespoon of butter or shortening, two teaspoons of sugar, few shakes of salt, warmed on the stove just so – the butter hasn’t fully melted, but the mix is warm like a baby’s bottle.
Combining this with your flour and yeast, you mix with your wooden spoon, mixing, thinking, adding flour one splash at a time, working as much in as you can before sprinkling the table and kneading the dough.
Knead, press, work, strain. Imagine your tormentor is in the dough as you beat and pull and knead it into submission. You breathe softly, regularly. Your worries and fears come under your control like the dough beneath your hands.
Feel the life beneath your fingers. Know you are participating in an ancient life-giving ritual. Think about your ancestors, standing, kneading just as you are at this very moment. Recall the peace they must have felt as they too worked their worries into the bread.
Finally you step back and give it a poke, smiling when the indentation disappears. It is ready.
You place it in your greased bowl, flipping it once to make sure it is evenly coated, inspecting it lovingly. Covering it with a cloth, you treat yourself to a gentle relaxing bath. Life is truly good.
Enjoy the heat; enjoy the warmth. Consider the life blossoming in the other room, rising as a result of your care. By the time you are finished, rest assured in the knowledge your loaf will be waiting for you.
Dress, dry your hair, and check upon your masterpiece. Perfect, beautiful, mounding within the bowl. Ancient, perfect peace.
Taking your fist, you gently punch it down. That air escaping is your problems, hissing away into the atmosphere. You are free!
Split your dough in half, shape and place in your pans. Or perhaps in your relief you wish to play, and braid your loaves instead? You are free now from your tormentors, enjoy yourself! Relax while you watch your life-giving creation rise again, breathing, just breathing in the knowledge that you are safe, and all is well
As your loaves bake, think about how delighted your family will be to awaken to the aroma of fresh-baked bread, as you stretch out on the couch with your favorite book, calmly glancing at the clock.
Pull the loaves out to cool, covering with a cloth, and go back to bed, knowing you have worked away your demons and can now truly rest, knowing that your family will have not only a fresh healthy treat in the morning, but knowing that everything is going to be okay.
It really is.