Monday, October 21, 2013


A few posts ago, I mentioned that I had pending posts that I hoped to bring to the light of day soon. Well, several weeks later, they are still in my head and not down on paper. Recently I realized the best thing to do would put these thoughts down in the form of shorts and clear my mental mailbox for more writing.

Short #1: Blown Away (Again) To Oz
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the MGM "The Wizard of Oz." You know, that one. As part of the 75th anniversary observances, MGM released a 3D/IMAX version of the film to be shown in IMAX theatres for one week only in mid-September.

Of course I bought tickets. While not a huge fan of 3D films (they are a pain to watch when you wear glasses), I was not about to miss out on seeing my all-time favorite film on a really big, BIG screen.

I was not disappointed. Watching the film in 3D and that big, I saw details I had never seen before. (I didn't know the Scarecrow carried a gun when they went hunting the Wicked Witch.)  Warren, for his part, finally got the full impact of the "Over the Rainbow" sequence with Judy Garland.

It was "The Wizard of Oz" as I have never seen it before and will never see it again.

As we drove home that night and hashed over the film, I was hit with a sudden pang remembering a high school classmate, Geoff. Geoff and I shared a fascination with "The Wizard of Oz" back when you only saw it on television once a year and before videos came along (in short, a long, long time ago). We would write each other letters with new observations about the movie; I particularly remember my calling attention to the shoe polish glossy hair on the male citizens of the Emerald City.

Geoff died in a plane crash over seventeen years ago, so he wasn't around for this 75th anniversary release. I thought of him that night: how he would have enjoyed the film, how he would have loved all the new details that popped to life in the 3D/IMAX format.

I am quite sure Geoff would have been blown away to Oz, just like I was.

Short #2: A Wedding
Stephanie got married in mid-September.

I have known Stephanie since she was in second grade. She has always been one of my special girls. And now she was getting married.

When Ben and Alise got married, I had a brief teary moment at the start of the wedding, then finished the occasion dry-eyed. It was not for lack of love or emotion; I think I was so happy to see them together that the joy I was feeling crowded out any further tears.

Seeing Stephanie marry was an entirely different event. I had a lump in my throat from the moment I walked into the church, and the tears spilled when I saw Stephanie—beautiful, glowing Stephanie—float down the aisle on the arm of her father.

I wore the same outfit to Stephanie's wedding that I was married in five years ago. For the record, the skirt of the ensemble also saw duty at Ben's wedding, so it is my official wedding skirt. I hope my wearing it is a good omen for Stephanie and Jason's wedding: I certainly feel that way about Ben and Alise's wedding and my own. 

All brides are beautiful on their wedding day. This one certainly was. 

Short #3: Sourdough
As of late, I have been living in the land of sourdough. As I had surmised, the glop of "Amish Friendship Bread" turned out to be a decent starter. Over the past four weeks, I have been experimenting and getting comfortable with making bread from a starter instead of yeast.

No surprise, there was (still is, for that matter) a learning curve. No surprise, it turns out working with starter is far easier and less exacting than I had feared. It was about the second week of baking when a basic truth hit me. This method has been around for centuries. It has to be simple to have survived so long. Stop hyperventilating over the process.

It was not unlike my learning experience with growing a garden. The first year I fussed and worried over my plants, even while I knew in my head that the seeds would grow without my overanxious ministrations. Four years later, I am considerably more unwound and relaxed.

So it has become with baking with starter, albeit in a much shorter time frame. Recently I accidentally reversed the order of the steps in preparing the dough. I did not panic; I did not throw out the dough and resume feeding the starter for a new batch. I instead shrugged and told Warren that it would probably turn out fine. And it did.

I have had a lot of other obligations and concerns on my plate as of late, from far-flung children to nearby elderly relatives to my own handful of issues. Making bread from starter is a long process, but very little of that time actively involves me. There is something peaceful in that rhythm, knowing that the starter and, eventually, the dough, can work away independent of me.

The act of baking bread is timeless. And with my newfound pastime, I step even deeper into that timelessness. Like Thoreau, I am "a-fishing" in the stream, ever conscious of the current sliding away, but away that eternity remains.

1 comment:

see you there! said...

Will have to watch for the new version of The Wizard of Oz, a favorite movie of mine also.

Glad to hear the bread making is successful. There is something relaxing about doing things the old fashioned hand made way for me. On that note I'm learning to knit socks. Like you and bread, I stressed in the beginning and then thought - they are just socks for pity sake, so what if there is a twisted stitch here and there.