Baking a batch of fresh blueberry muffins is one of my favorite simple pleasures.
I do it early, before the summer day turns sultry and my body slows to a liquid ballet of movement designed to conserve every last salty drop of intention and energy my creaky, vanilla lotioned body can muster. I rise and bake to the rosy morning sun, stirring my batter half asleep, sipping hot coffee. A northern mockingbird sings his deceit outside the kitchen window. He is remarkable in his uncanny repertoire, a gifted mimic, silhouetted high against a summer-blue sky, perched on the tallest utility pole.
I’ve been reading this week. Finding books a provocative companion. Words that illuminate and poke. Shared stories that send shivers of recognition, trigger anger, or tug one’s soul (kicking and whining) into that impossible place- that place where you don’t want to go. The stuff that scares you. Because it might be true.
Reading a book about mothers and daughters at twenty is one thing. You bring to its wisdom your newly hatched self-hood, your fresh experience, your familial-infused expectations (and prejudices). The expectations, assumptions and dreams of a young woman. You are the heroine, the daughter starting out on your journey, looking at a long and winding road ahead. So you read. And listen. And play with ideas. You see what fits. And what doesn’t.
And then you stand, decades later, stirring blueberry muffin batter on a cloudless morning. And here, now, the words ring deeper. And the truth stings darker. There is a lifetime of days spiraling out beneath you and above you (because by now you know that time is not linear, or finite, like a string of numbers across a calendar). And the same words vibrate with a different meaning, engraved with experience and regret. The same words illuminate as if from a different light source.
Not from the world.
From within you.
And so here I am. A daughter, still. Learning something old as if it is new. And discovering truths as if for the first time, arriving, as T. S. Elliot wrote, where we started.