The past few weeks have been busy and stressful, with an abundance of end-of-year office work and serious financial problems. The weight of my responsibilities has become a bit heavy to bear with my usual aplomb. This weekend, however, I was blessed with the gift of free time -- and I enjoyed each minute.
Much of my time was spent in the kitchen. Saturday morning found me chopping and sauteeing fresh vegetables and beef to simmer all day into a hearty and delicious soup. In the afternoon I savored the process of making bread -- the mixing and kneading and careful tending that resulted in two loaves of tasty French herbed bread. We shared a quiet supper of wine, soup and bread that warmed my heart.
This morning I filled the kitchen with the scent of vanilla as I baked a cake. When my children were home, I kept the cupboards stocked with baked goods -- cookies, brownies, cakes -- but our middle-aged waistlines do not need frequent sweets, so the aroma of sweet baking is a special treat now.
I have always loved the soothing qualities of cooking -- the mixing, chopping, stirring that create a delicious whole from a group of disparate ingredients. I look out the window at my bird feeders as I work, or chat on the phone, or just absorb the deep quiet of my warm kitchen. The tensions of my world fall away, and there is nothing more pressing than the moment at hand.
My unscheduled weekend was a welcome respite. I dusted and scrubbed the house, spent some time with my daughters-in-law and my granddaughter, and saw an ultrasound picture of my baby grandson. I made some long-overdue phone calls to friends, enjoyed a glass of wine as I lingered over a new gardening magazine, and topped off Sunday evening with a piece of my delectable cake.
My spirit is quiet tonight -- I am thankful for these two days, and will try to carry this feeling of serenity into the coming week.