it’s just pumpkin bread….

The memories from that long-ago linger in a cloudy form, without even the substance to suggest that they are wraith-like in their residue, they are probably more like a knowing, the recollection of a notion, a processing of things talked about over the years, an echoing of words like “remember when,” as they existed in their primary forms before those words became what they are today in the contexts in which they still live in conversations among those who use them like that…they are memories, maybe without a sensory connection, as ideas often are, but memories still, and they cast about in my mind as things that exist as a coming-after in the defined sense.  I can imagine forms for them, aromas or flavors, maybe even textures…maybe even with accompanying sounds; I can imagine those things and assign them meaning with the words that populate what I describe as memories….

There is a different body walking about the given room, reaching up and down into cabinets whose doors were opened with knobs or handles or none at all…spices and tins or trays, oil and powders…eggs from the fridge, but no butter.  She brought the old spaghetti bowl out from its place, emptied pumpkin from a can, sifted flour and shook out the salt…cloves cinnamon nutmeg sugar water and soda from a yellow box…dates from a palm tree and nuts from another, a sharp knife and a cutting-board now, they hold my reflection as I move about, a silver mixing bowl with a rubberized exterior that makes it hold still on the counter top…other memories and another face, the bowls were a holiday present, the knives, too, slicing dates and sifting the flour and dry ingredients with a whisk in that bowl…cracked eggs dropping and the oven is getting warm…degree marks rising in number form and I can see his face, a smile as I rinse my hands and dry them…and later words echoing that said, no, not yet…not after what happened last month…it’s still too soon…and the whisk rides the inside of the bowl in a circle oblique, the dry and wet ingredients lose themselves becoming one…the knife scrapes the dates off the board…and my mom walks into the other room…she wore an apron then, a time from another time with powdered sugar on a plate, the decades draw into their pasts and remember themselves and bring us along…we see distance and separation of events and people and know that things exist as they do because of how they ticked in the clock of that time past and they echo so in the chambers of our hearts because of the tears we’ve cried into them…like unfired clay returning to its form, malleable when broken again, mixed with those flowing memories and made whole again…to be broken and broken again to be made whole and whole again…and again…until we purpose to fire them against such happening…and then they are hard and resistant to such effects…and more durable still…and flowing memories just run off, they pass without touching…gone and away.

The timer above the stove beeped in its way after 90 minutes, and hope and expectation were fulfilled after a few more, those more passing to cool and hold, to firm-up against the removal from the pans that held them in their transformation from a flavored soupiness to a rich and thickened bread, a consummation of effort and memory and ghosted images that found their substance as their sensory forms were released from their lodgings in my brain and lived again through opened doors once hidden and closed against time and emotion, against a time and loneliness that caused their own transformations….

It’s just pumpkin bread…but it’s not.

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16 responses

  1. Nut Balls

    Just beautiful…much more than just pumpkin bread 🙂

    November 20, 2012 at 8:49 am

    • Thank you, Nate…and yes, so much more.

      November 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

  2. Geoff

    Scott, your photo captures the moment! However, It’s never “just” pumpkin bread. Pumpkin bread is a magical, almost ephemeral, substance. It’s the “Brigadoon” of baked goods! There is nothing to compare to the sensation of working outside in the biting windy cold and knowing that there’s pumpkin bread in the oven. There is no compare to that inviting aroma – yeast, all spice, pumpkin, cinnamon, and… did she use nutmeg this year? As you open the back door, to walk into the kitchen, that wonderful smell, carried on the warm moist ‘inside air’, hits you in the face like the first ocean wave of the summer. I find myself transported back to a different back door, long ago, and it’s my mom’s recipe that I’m smelling. No, that had cloves and raisins. It’s not my grandmas, with the the hints of molasses and rum. It’s my wife’s recipe – she did use nutmeg! For me, it’s not November without that sensation. Suddenly, I’m craving the smell of roasting turkey! Thank you for evoking the memories and the starting a new anticipation.

    November 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

    • Thank you, Geoff…you captured it well…what a wonderful addition to the post. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the full sensory pleasure of it!

      November 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

  3. Liana

    I know this…

    November 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

    • I’m not familiar enough with you to know all of what that might mean, Liana…but it feels like we’re on the same page…thank you.

      November 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

  4. Very nice indeed Scott. The pictures are great. 🙂

    November 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

    • Thank you, Chillbrook. 🙂

      November 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

  5. Perfect synergy of word and picture….why are memories slightly sad……is it just the lost moments….and a deep yearning….and regrets….

    Oh, go bake another cake……. 🙂

    November 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

    • Thank you, John…and yes, I believe it is a bit of all of those things…and it seems that one must know of those things to understand enough to suggest them….

      And yes, I shall go bake another cake…er, pies, rather…for our feast day…pecan pies with chocolate chips and coconut baked inside….

      November 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

  6. Delicious!

    November 20, 2012 at 11:41 am

    • So very much, Andrea…thank you. 🙂

      November 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

  7. How wonderful, Scott. As I was reading your evocative words, distant memories of a similar nature came to my mind.

    November 21, 2012 at 3:58 am

    • Thank you, Meanderer…I hope those were good memories for you…. 🙂

      November 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

  8. How wonderfully evocative and reminiscent! Yummm! –And umm–could you send me a piece?

    November 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

    • Thank you, Gary…and yes, we could probably arrange that! 🙂

      November 26, 2012 at 6:59 am

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