When I was pregnant with Hugh, I baked constantly. Alongside the weekly loaves I baked for the small Community Supported Bread program I run, I baked for the present and the future. The present baking consisted of bread and baked goods I already loved and wanted to get better at, as well as new-to-me concoctions driven by seasonality. I baked muffins, tea cakes, scones, and cookies, mostly from my favorite baking books like Good to the Grain, Sweeter off the Vine, and the Violet Bakery Cookbook. My bread creations always included a whole wheat or country loaf sourdough, as I played with seeds and different grains such as sesame and semolina. The future baking consisted of freezing many, many slices of bread to consume after Hugh was born, along with half of those muffins and cookies. I knew I wouldn’t be baking in the months after his birth and I wanted to be well stocked.
How often do you think about the passing of time?
I’ve had years where the Christmas celebrations seemed mere months apart instead of a full year, and I’ve endured other periods where each month was elongated, passing by at an excruciatingly slow pace. Time is fickle. Despite each minute being qualitatively the same whether you’re 6 or 26, time moves differently for all of us, depending on age, experience, or things in our lives that make it impossible to ignore its passing.
Before I became pregnant with Hugh, I used gardening as my time yardstick.
In the fall, I plan next year’s garden and tuck this year’s away. In the early winter, the garden sits alone as my attention turns towards indoor activities, like baking and house projects. In the late winter, I eagerly open up my seed starting calendars and start the first seeds for the spring garden.
When Hugh and I are strolling about town, me hoisting his increasingly heavy frame in a front facing carrier, we’re frequently greeted by those we walk past. It’s rare to go on a walk and not experience waves, smiles, and greetings of “what a happy baby!”, “he’s so alert”, and “look at his bright eyes”. Hugh loves the attention and, as his mother, I get a burst of energy each time a stranger greets Hugh with a compliment. It’s caffeine for me and stimulation for him. Hugh frequently presents as the happiest baby when he’s in these situations, because as I’ve written before, he loves walks and he loves being outside. (Although since he learned to crawl about a month ago, our walks are now shorter to allow him ample time to move around.) I always leave these interactions with a jolt of positivity, but also with a feeling I can’t quite name.