|Dad's day card, 2011|
My husband, like many people in his family, has enormous hands. His dad is a carpenter, and his uncle, who also farms, makes dulcimers. His mom, who has fine, delicate hands, makes the fluffiest loaves of wheat bread I've ever eaten, and she used to make bread for the local grocer when Tim was little. Watching her knead and shape dough is like watching a potter at her art. There is nothing quite like the busyness of her hands fluttering over the dough, shuffling flour over its surface, propping it up and then smashing it down gently, over and over, a hundred soft movements working the yeast through the flour and years of experience into one loaf. She does it casually, never carelessly. It is an incredible thing. It is like watching something being born, and I find myself holding my breath at the end of the counter, marveling at her expert nonchalance.
When I go to Tim's childhood house, where this bread is made, I feel like a Lego clicking into place. Not because I have a lot in common with rural Ohioans, though I have a bit. And not because I am fully seen and accepted for who I am, though I probably am. I feel like I am home when I step onto the slope of my in-laws' land because I feel the sort of pace that can only be set by industrious human hands.
Last week, when Tim was out of town, I picked up a favorite book, Nikki McClure's Collect Raindrops - The Seasons Gathered, and read through its pages. I wanted to visit its advice for celebrating the summer season, but I became most enamored of its introduction. McClure writes:
Every year since 1998, I have printed a calendar noting the month-by-month change in orbit. My first calendar offered small and quick gleanings with every month. The calendars have now evolved into detailed, yet sparse instructions on living life where our hands matter.
This is the simple beauty I embrace these days.