Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 10: morning, noon and night

This morning was a perfect winter's morn: cold, clear, sunny. A thin layer of snow lay on the ground. Morning commuters hurried by with their shoulders hunched, trying in vain to keep out the chill. I worked; the radio chattered on in the background. The sunlight made its tour of the walls. The pile of eraser crumbs on my desk expanded ever outward.

This afternoon I was beset by a sudden craving for brownies, and not just any brownies, but the brownies of my childhood. Nothing else would do. This is not a gourmet recipe—there's no melted chocolate, no half-dozen eggs or three cups of sugar—but it's my favourite. It reminds me of wintery Saturday afternoons, birthday parties and bake sales, report cards. The original was pencilled in a cramped hand in the back of one of my grandmother's Five Roses Flour cookbooks, its pages yellowed with time and use, fractions obscured by stains. There's a certain kind of nostalgia that can only be sated by the magical combination of a time-worn recipe, a favourite wooden spoon, and an old Pyrex mixing bowl. 

This evening I watched the sun set from the commuter train, headed west. I ride in the upper level because I love the feeling of gliding along, high over the earth. I saw skeins of geese heading south and ditches full of tangled weeds, milkweed pods blasted open by the wind. The river at Port Credit has iced over; not enough to skate on, but that will come soon enough. Snow had caught in the ripples in the ice; the resident swans and ducks were nowhere to be seen. It made me shiver.

Late at night I walked into a house that still smelled of brownies baking, with an undertone of pine. The refrigerator turned off; the radiator turned on. It's oh so quiet. 

And tomorrow, it starts all over again.

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