The women of today are the thoughts of their mothers and grandmothers, embodied, and made alive. They are active, capable, determined and bound to win. . . Millions of women, dead and gone, are speaking through us today.
I finally have enough room in the freezer for bran muffins and oatmeal cookies so I pull out my baking paraphernalia and get to work. As I gather ingredients, in predictable and delicious silence, I am struck by the contentment that falls over me.
Baking is not my favourite thing to do—in fact I wrestled with myself this morning, feeling the lure of the woman cave where I could write and practice photography—yet I find myself surprised every time I pull out the pans because I am transported to another dimension where it is home.
it’s a place where my mother lives, my grandma too (though she’s kind, not crotchety, there), and my beloved Aunt Edie. They, and others from the past, come alive when I bake. Conversations, real and imagined, dance through my mind. Cups of coffee, Formica kitchen tables, radios playing softly in the background, prairie—it’s all there, and it’s all good.
As I measure flour and add it to the creamed butter and sugar, I am walking through Crescent Park on a still and hot summer afternoon. I’m remembering the burning of the pavement on my feet that day when someone stole my brand new sandals while I was swimming at the Natatorium and I had to walk home with bare feet.
I’m thinking about a little book called Love and Laughter by Marjorie Holmes that caught my attention when I was maybe twelve or thirteen. I bought it and read it repeatedly—short essays about ordinary things centered around home and family and the way I imagined life would be for me one day. An odd book for a young girl to be interested in, but important enough to me that it’s still on my bookshelf.
And so I drop balls of dough on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets as women from the past keep me company. The kitchen begins to smell like comfort as the countertop fills with oatmeal cookies and memories.
It doesn’t take long—I glance at the clock as I’m wiping the counter—maybe an hour and a half, and eighteen bran muffins are cooling alongside the cookies. Dishes are done, ingredients are put away, and I hang my apron back in the closet. Finished.
I head to the woman cave, content.