when we get home from our homeschool co-op i unload the car and drop everything on the floor somewhere just out of sight enough that we don’t trip over it. then i take out my pot, my wooden spoon, and my favorite knife and start cooking. there is nothing else that feels like the right thing to do. i haven’t even finished the breakfast dishes yet. dinner isn’t for hours. the snacks and drinks from the car ride to and from the co-op are still strewn around various bags. yet, there is not a thing i can do but start cooking.
i chop. i dice. i brown and deglaze. i breathe in the smells of the food cooking and then pull spices out of the cupboard. i add a little vinegar. i sprinkle on the salt. i toss in some bay leaves.
it calms my soul and brings me back to my center. before i start cooking i feel worn out from the mental, emotional, spiritual task of holding the space for eleven children. i feel exhausted from the learning and moving and intuiting. i feel spread thin. but somewhere between dicing up onion for the country style pork shoulder ribs i am braising and picking the last springs of tarragon out of my garden to flavor the cabbage i start to come back home. i find my way to where i need to be.
the kids are playing, singing, coming in and out of imagination and wanting attention. they seem more capable of giving me some space when i cook. maybe it is because i am busy with purposeful activity. maybe it is because then can sense that i am in that place – that sacred place – where thinking has ceased and being has begun.
you’d think, after all the being with the children what i’d need is a break from being. but, it turns out what i seek is being some more. with my wooden spoon, with my big blue pot, with my own flow.
once everything is simmering i get to the bags. i do the breakfast dishes. i might even play a game with the bean and pea. i am ready to prepare a snack, make kid tea, and sit down to tell silly jokes to each other. and like that we are back to where we end up each day. with the day ending. with a candle lighting their dinner. with a tidy up before bath time.
when i first walk in the door dropping back packs, fleece and rain coats, snack bags, and dirty boots i have no idea how i will make it.
but the cooking leads me there.
and i follow…