5:37 pm. 1 January, 2015
The house is quiet…the kitchen smells like butter, cinnamon, and toasting walnuts…there is a cool draft coming in the window to counter the heat of the oven…all is well. Thank you for the gifts of flavor and spice and my senses that teach me so much about who you are and the love you have for your creation.
The bread is done and came out beautifully! I so enjoy being with you, being of a quiet mind with you and doing something creative…cooking, baking, writing…When I watch the pan with butter, sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts and all of a sudden bonds are broken and the ingredients melt and come together, I simply marvel at the science–which is no different than marveling at you, or at least, an aspect of you.
The subtle flavors that layer, that are necessary, that remain in a state of hint and suggestion until they come forward to tap you on the shoulder–these tastes call to mind one of your 99 beautiful names in the Muslim tradition–one of my favorites as I read of them in a lovely small book in Indonesia…name #30…Al-Latif, the Subtle One.
I love that name for you…That aspect of you brings me such joy–deep joy–time and again. You, in the first sip of coffee in the morning. You–in the warm nest of my blankets. You–in the bend of the offering tree as she greets the sun and the moon alike with stayed out branches. You–between the notes, syllables, flavors, colors, You, the sensing itself…the invitation to pay attention, to look long and believe that it might just be possible to “see into the life of things,” as Wordsworth put it.
It is the discovery aspect of subtlety that I find attractive. I love that you tuck into spaces, are not only obvious and exclamatory–though that piece of you, too, is something I admire…the way you ways of proclaiming your story so boldly in the waves against the breakers in Ocean Beach, the plant that pushes up the sidewalk crack and claims its space and being-ness. At once’ you are stunningly unavoidable and exceptionally patient and subtle…
Somewhere in that is the deeper answer to S’s question about why I have a jar of pepper flakes and a jar of cinnamon on my desk. I too wish to be both bold in my being as well as subtle, tucking into places, an open decided presence that is using the layers of experiences that don’t necessarily spell themselves out externally in order to better serve those around me.
There is a difference I have learned over time…that is the difference between being subtle and holding back. I wish to be subtle and hold nothing back. Thank you for showing me how…by being such a glorious fullness in every atom, cell, molecule, and mote of your creation.
The cinnamon and chile are spices that act that way–or can have those attributes–subtlety and fullness of being. And I like the reminder that I wish to be like that too.
Thank you for this day, for your love, infusing and enthralling creation.