Fred and Ethel are gone. I threw them away. Ethel was to be my sourdough starter baby that would grow into a live, active source of all things sourdoughy. Fred was the discard jar from which waffles and starters for friends would emerge. Fred lived in my fridge; Ethel in the cabinet above my microwave. I dreamed of a long and happy life together and had already pictured the beautifully browned loaves with red holiday bows on them that I would drop off on neighbors’ porches. I dreamed of toast made from the freshest and healthiest of ingredients.
Folks, I tried twice. I spent hours researching and reading articles and searching for the right flour and deciding which jars to use and left sticky notes around to make sure I didn’t miss a feeding and on and on and on. Twice I hoped. Twice I suffered great disappointment. Was I a bad sourdough mom? Was something wrong with me? This is a thing tons of people do successfully.
And then I was done. I released Fred and Ethel to be recycled by the Universe, I felt relief. As I hosed out those jars in my kitchen sink, I felt free. No more twice-a-day feedings. No more consternating about which bread recipe I’d try first and wondering if I really needed to buy a special bread baking pan.
I’ve been reading a lot recently about how people are loving Marie Kondo-ing the heck of things and cleaning out flower beds and sewing thousands of cloth masks. Others are writing amazing satire and performing it for us on YouTube in song and dance numbers worthy of Broadway. I’ve seen Jigsaw puzzles and Netflix recommendations and stacks of books that have been read. And yes, I’ve seen beautifully baked loaves of sourdough bread.
For me, staying physically and mentally healthy during this time has called for a work/play balance–with the heavy end of the scale reading p-l-a-y. An exercise/rest balance with the heavy end of the scale reading r-e-s-t. I’ve had times when I was scared, angry, content, antsy, missing people, enjoying solitude. I’ve had days when I felt pressure to get things accomplished and days when I successfully tapped into a snow day vibe. But always, always, always I am healthiest and happiest when I am listening to the still small voice inside of me and living true. When I’m not comparing myself, my talents, and my accomplishments to others.
I celebrate those who have made beautiful loaves of sourdough bread during quarantine. I didn’t. And that’s okay. But you know what I did do? I found Amelia’s, a bakery just nine miles from me that makes beautiful loaves of bread from quality ingredients. It’s what they do! ameliasbread.com
Life is good like that. We try stuff. We like it or we don’t. It fits us or it doesn’t. And somewhere along the way, we learn that following our own, unique form of bliss and celebrating those who can do what we can’t, sans feelings of inadequacy, just may be the answer.