Some days, after spending hours a day moving piles of stones with a wheel-barrow, I feel strong. Some days, after spending hours a day moving piles of stones with a wheel-barrow, I feel tired. Some days, after moving piles of stones with a wheel-barrow, I feel grateful (blessed even). And some days, after moving piles of stones with a wheel-barrow, I feel completely sorry for myself and I return to the house exhausted, grumbling and sore.
The task for the past two weeks has been the same: To Build a Garden Path. The woman building the path however, has been anything but constant, for she is after all a human being. The only constant thing about the human being is her inconsistency; the variedness of the emotional tones that run throughout her days. And if you have not guessed it by now, this she that I speak of, is me.
Yes, if I were working for someone else, building someone else’s garden pathway, I may have been criticized for the rainbow display of multiple attitudes I had toward this task. In the past, what has always made me a “good” employee is my ability to be upbeat and positive at all times. I am, as many of you well know, a Master of Cheerfulness, and although it often comes naturally, it is, between you and I, not a constant state. Which is to say (whispering in hushed tones now) echm… I am, not always, cheerful (oh my gawd, that was funny to write, I sincerely hope you are laughing your heads off now, for I have just put myself on the floor).
Yes, this pathway building has offered me an astonishing metaphor. You see the very building of this pathway has revealed to me another sort of pathway to consider, the kind that is conceptual rather than physical. What I mean to say is, it has shown me another perspective, another way to BE on this human journey. Now, I am quite sure that this discovery is not new, or even interesting, but for me (for this green-grasshopper-seeker) it was a cannonball of recognition that hit me straight in the head and dropped me right into my heart. For, there amongst the emotional ebb and flow of my humanness, I found, what I can only describe as the present moment. And this present moment of mine, is a fascinating realm. I have begun to wonder why I spend such a tremendous amount of time trying to get away from it, and, where in the hell am I going anyway, in such a distracted hurry? Now I am picturing a panel of wise-old-monks, of toothless soothsayers and levitating masters (cliche I know, but there it is) all sipping hot cups of leafy tea and laughing hysterically at this sweet naive, slightly arrogant, and foolish woman, as she pushes her skookum wheel-barrow over another little nugget of sparkling truth. So there you have it, the past two weeks, I have been building a pathway to the present moment, only to find that it was here all along.
As for Mark, he too has been doing his own version of present moment exploration, as he spends his days responding to the needs of sourdough cultures and bubbling brews, of continued-oven-building and bread-perfecting. He has, after one full moon cycle, created bread that he is happy with (and so he should be, for it is a marvelous thing).
I wake up these mornings to find artisanal loaves piled high on the kitchen counter, with perfect crusts and billowy crumbs. They are reminiscent of old-world-breads, of story-book loaves. The kind that I imagine, are still found in European villages, in little mountain towns high in the alps. The kind of bread that Hansel and Gretel broke into crumbs and scattered behind them, to mark the pathway home.
Some even have honeybee shapes on the top!
And after Mark’s bread is baked, his oven is still warm for days, which has been inspiring us to put all sorts of other things in there, like our Honey Grove Granola for example (and it has never tasted better).
Sometimes, you will even find me out there, at Mark’s oven, very early in the morning, half asleep, wearing a wooly sweater inside-out over my nightgown, turning granola, like a proper country witch.
Otherwise, when the baker is not baking, he is brewing. I call Mark my Honey Grove alchemist. He turns milk into yogurt and water/flour paste to sourdough, and sourdough into bread and barley into beer. He is a kind of fermentation wizard.
But before the barley becomes beer it goes through Mark’s innovative grain-grinding system that uses a powered-drill-bit to turn the grinder.
Grains go in whole and come out crushed and powdery. And every recipe is perfectly calculated, measured and recorded using modern software. Mark’s brewing process sums him up beautifully, for he brings the old world and the new world together, in ways that make me feel hopeful. It is another one of his alchemy’s.
So there you have it, brews and breads, pathways and the present moment. As for Gus, we are fairly certain that he spends each and every day giving himself to the present moment. He is currently lying on the living room floor in dappled sunlight, meditating on his orange ball.
February Blessings to All~ Thank you for cheering us on.
Nao, Mark, Gus and All at Honey Grove.