After a long messy run of travel I got home last night and all I could think about was getting my hands in some flour. This time of year we tend toward cravings for nutmeg and cinnamon things with lots of butter and sugar. But this year more than ever I have been yearning to knead and fill this house with good smells from the oven. When I am traveling and think of home I miss my kitchen most of all. I miss making my family feel loved with the little cakes and breads that say “mom’s home”. Right now there is butter softening on the counter and by nightfall there will be birthday cake for a teenager, yeasty cheddar bread for the mornings I am away, ginger cupcakes with maple frosting , and maybe a loaf of pumpkin bread or nut roll for his dad.
Winter is coming, which simplifies everything and reminds you that the essentials of life up here in the north country are warmth, food, shelter, and plumbing. The rest is just decoration. The reality is that we are all in a little over our heads. We are racing to get a promotion, bigger house, and our kids into the right schools. We need to lose weight, call our aging relatives, make intimate marriage time and help with homework. The garden needs to be completely put to bed and there are still leaves out there which will freeze and kill the spring grass if we aren’t careful. We need to stack the wood and and haul down the mittens. There is stuff that needs doing and we are the only ones who are around to do it.
Truly we ought to be thankful and we do okay. We all try to remember about gratitude. John came with me on this last leg of the tour. We got a whole nother round of fall in Buck’s County Pennsylvania with cheery book people who wanted to talk and laugh tucked into romantic inns where we remembered what anniversaries are supposed to look like. Much happiness. But there is also always so much stuff to worry about if we are so inclined.. Me? It has all been about this recent travel. This is not travel to the Italian countryside but more travel to Providence for a quick event followed by a long flight to Denver for another one. Each trip has been marked by long drives to airports and trains and security lines. In addition to screwing up texts, aging apparently means that I need five minutes to get out of the car after one of those marathon flight/drive things when my butt stays in the seat and my back screams that I am no longer twenty-four. Plus my skin is starting to look like newspaper from all this dry air. There have been gobs of late flights with enraged and bitter passengers who just want a little bin space. And on that last delayed flight to Chicago every other person had a cold and not enough Kleenex.
But when I got home yesterday I had a teenager who hugged me like he meant it and a pile of dogs and cat curling around me in front of the fire. I had brought home lamb bones and catnip treats so the room smelled a little like woodsmoke in a pet store. And today the whole place is going to have a gingery cinnamon vibe. Because it is time to start the gratitude dance. I get to be home for two whole days and I have a fluffy warm robe, full birdfeeder, a boiler full of oil, a mess of furry love, and a husband who ignored the fit and saw the need and got into the car with me.
It is November. I have a pile of butter on my counter and two sacks of flour, and, by golly, I am all kinds of thankful