February 10, 2017

Make America Bagels Again

Last night, I sat on the window seat in our library wrapped in a wool blanket. The moon was doing her thing out on the meadow, and I kept the lights off so I could watch the shadows of the trees on the snow.

I called an old friend. We are now deep into our third decade of friendship, and there is little that could happen to change who we are together. I used to call him late at night from my aunt and uncle’s house when I was a teenager, keeping the lights out and whispering so no one would know I was up late. Their house was never my home, and he knew me when it all hurt so much and I knew him when it all hurt so much, too. Last night I called him to tell him it all hurts so much all over again, and I sat in my blanket and watched the moon glow and we talked about the ache of what is happening to our country. I told him about my run for my school board and the ways that is changing me and making me grow, and I knew he was there, having my back and loving me as much for my heart as for my mind, as he has since we were teenagers and lost together.

We are intense people, he and I. We’ve scared our fair share of friends away over the years. His mind is one of the most incredible I’ve ever encountered, yet, as I told Zachary this morning, he’s an example of the fact that it’s not your intelligence that counts but what you do with it. Because his heart is wide and unfathomable, and his sense of social justice fierce. He loves fully and unwaveringly.

What would I do in this world without these remarkable people I find? These people who take me with all my flaws and are not frightened by the fire I bring to friendship. These who look at me and say, “Girl, that shit don’t bother me. Bring it on.” Where would I be without the brilliant minds who have welcomed me?

I am hurting, yes. So many of us are. And I am growing. As so many of us are.

The baking has a weird place in that. Today, I made bagels. I just opened a cookbook and thought, “Hell, I can make bagels.” The fear I have felt every day of my life is shrinking. Forty-three years into this run, I have finally found my stride. And the baking is love that I can offer to my community as we struggle through difficult times. I show up for pretty much everything holding baked goods.

Some nights I am exhausted and hurting, but there are these moments now when I feel strong, fortified by the extraordinary people I know. These moments when the moon dresses the meadow up in silver and I sit wrapped in a blanket, wrapped in the same friendship that held me up with I was sixteen.

Love still trumps hate.

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