Sunday, 19 February 2012

Play Dates

As I sit by my bedroom window and look out into my neighbours backyard I see their 3 children carelessly frolicking in the snow. The little girl is clad in a pink and purple snow suit, the eldest boy as green plaid coat and pants, and the littlest one, who can barely stand upright, is in a smash up of navy blue snow pants, a bright red coat, and a monster toque.

The little girl is rolling the snow into large snow balls in the hopes of making a snow man. As she finishes one she begins to make another. Her brother automatically begins to assault the snow ball, kicking it at the base, for what reason other then he is just being a boy. The little girl horrified that her creation will come to demise flings herself on the snow ball, shielding her brother’s kicks and ultimately taking a few blows herself. She whimpers and cries and pleads for him to stop. “Why are you kicking my snow ball?!” She screams in desperation, frustration, and confusion. In her mind the snow ball was just minding its own business, simply there to magically form into Frosty the Snow Man. The little boy stops his assault for a moment and says, “I don’t know, I just want to kick it.” Simple and truthful answer but still not good enough for the little girl. After taking a few more kicks from her brother her anger boils to its breaking point. She leaps off the snow ball throwing her body onto her brother and knocks him flat on his back in the snow. He starts to laugh at first and then as she stuffs snow in his face he cries out in protest.

Satisfied that she has avenged her snow ball she releases him and her brother sulks away. All the while the littlest one, who can barely move in his snow suit let alone maneuver around the precarious snow covered lawn, is content to plunk down and feast on the snow at his feet and watch his siblings squabble.

Growing bored of making snow balls they switch to sledding. There is no sledding hill within sight so they use the next best thing: the back porch steps. The sister carries the sled to the top, carefully sets it on the top stair and then shuffles until she is flying down the steps, bumping all the way down. The sled gets lodged between the third and second bottom step and shoots her through the air. She lands in a heap of giggles and snow, unharmed. Seeing how much fun her sister is having the other two scrambled to take a turn, each meeting the same fate.

Eventually their energy is burned out and they waddle into the house, with the promise of hot chocolate, out of breath, rosy cheeked, and full of smiles.

I had my own unique play date experience this past week. Tuesday landed me in the bread department once again and I made Vienna Rolls, Whole Wheat Honey Bread, and Focaccia. Each dough had turned out so beautifully, not to sticky and not to dry. I held them in my arms before placing them in separate bowls to rise and they felt like little soft bread babies.

After slipping out for breakfast with the rest of my class mates I came back to find not only had my bread rose but it was entertaining the company of 4 other breads. It looked like a little bread rising play date. As I looked at the bread thoughtfully I realized that this was a perfect metaphor for life. All bread is made up of the same basic ingredients: water, flour, salt, sugar, and fat. But throw in some thyme, maybe a dash of cinnamon or some raisins and you change the structure, flavour, colour and rising time of the bread. The bread rises, is punched down, formed, set to bench rest, and finally shaped and fitted into its mould and then baked out. It emerges from the oven with perfect texture and taste.

Like bread we all share the same basic ingredients: bones, muscles, heart, blood, organs, skin, oxygen, water, and fat. But it is the diversity of our world, the challenges we face, the lessons we learn, and how we are raised that shapes and defines us. Just as bread needs to be punched down, stretched, and formed to become the best tasting bread it can be, we need to be bumped, scraped, challenged, and be able to let rise to become flavourful humans. Just like bread comes in a variety of forms like loaves, bagels, buns, doughnuts, and baguettes we to come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes to make up an assorted well balanced community.

As I finish off my entry for today I want to share on more play date story with you. When my alarm went off on Saturday morning I had every intention of turning it off and sleeping in until noon. I glanced out side, my eyes half open, and there before me was a winter wonderland! I sat straight up in bed. Could it be? Yet another delightful snow fall was upon me? Indeed it was true. The snow fell in soft thick flakes and covered the world in a magical bed of snow. I bounded out of bed, raced down stairs and inhaled a bowl of Lucky Charms. I was dressed and out the door in 20 minutes my camera securely pushed into my coat pocket. I stepped out into the glorious weather, with the majority of Charlottetown still asleep, I was delighted to have some quiet moments with the snow, just me, God, and my camera. We strolled through the city stopping every 3 metres to take a picture. I met some other cheerful early risers who like me had their cameras in hand and were immersing themselves in the white world around them. I spent 2 long beautiful hours meandering through the city, trudging through snow drifts, and gazing at snow covered trees. It was delightful. Exhausted and rosy cheeked I stumbled home and wrapped myself in warm fuzzies and resigned to the couch all day. Best play date ever.

                  Snow removal at its best. Yes that is a snow wall in the middle of the street.
                                     What if you have to make a left hand turn?

                                 Parmesian cheese and black pepper biscuits.

                                                 Bread rising play date.

                                                Cute little squirrel having a snowy nap.

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