Sometimes, I've been fortunate to come across words written by someone else that articulate something that resonates for me as well. That happened again to me this morning as I took a lingering morning finishing Sarah Winman's A Year of Marvellous Ways. A lovely book.
I like to cook. I particularly like to cook when I have space to take my time. I rarely use a recipe, but sometime I'll scan several recipes on-line to get a feel for something new and then go do my own thing. Some things, like soup, I never use a recipe for and the results are never the same, but usually yummy. Sometimes it's awful. I've not exactly looked for a way to explain what I do when I cook, but when I saw these few paragraphs in Winman's book I knew I'd found it.
"Finally, the last thing he needed to tell her about was his recipes. He told her something he had never told anyone: that his secret ingredient was the life he had lived.
"Peace stared at him. What do you mean? she said.
"Wilfred leant in close and whispered, Everything goes into my bread. Names. Songs. Memories. Every batch comes out different to the next but what we are looking for is not consistency buy excellence. You have to risk failure to become excellent." p 214
When my daughter was tiny I used to nap when she did since neither of us slept much at night. Our next door neighbour got a puppy and would put him out in the back yard on a lead at about the same time as we napped. He would bark the whole time. It was making me furious. I was exhausted and really needed the sleep. I'd asked the dog's owner several times to put him out at our off-nap times, but she didn't do it.
I was at my wits ends. I was so tired I was quite sure that a solid month of sleep and food and nothing else wouldn't be enough to regain any version of feeling awake and whole. Then I remembered a story about a violet, who, when stepped on responded by leaving a beautiful scent on the bottom of that person's foot. I was feeling pretty stepped on. I thought about how I too could be a violet. I made our neighbour a card using a wee footprint from my daughter as a picture on the front. She loved babies, including mine, and so I also included a photo of her. I wrote something like: I don't know when your birthday is, but please enjoy this card for today and all days, birthday or not. Then I signed it from my daughter and her mom. Then we walked over and put it in her mailbox.
The dog was never out at our nap times again.