“Thoreau understood something that many of us modern day nomads would do well to recognize: travel is a matter of perspective, not location. With curiosity, an open mind and a broad horizon of free time, it’s possible to travel in your own backyard.” - Brave New Traveller
I decided to bake bread this morning. It’s the first step in our next journey, I told Karen, explaining that no matter where we travel, or how, we would want to bake bread. Yet an oven can be a hard thing to travel with, especially when traveling light. This journey, some jouney, a journey has been in the works for some time now, so some time back I bought a pressure cooker, knowing, thinking, that this practical device could help me do far more elengant recipes that canned beans. My search for pressure cooker bread rewarded me with many recipes, most from long distance boaters. Karen was, I could tell, less than impressed, both by the thought of bread made in a pressure cooker, and by my renewed obsession with this journey.
What journey? I’ll write ont hat later, as I don’t know myself. I just know there will be one.
Looked at the paper and saw the obits. Looked for people my age, which is cleraly a sure sign of my age, and found a few. More than the last time I checked. One guy had worked at Boeing 30 years and was going to retire in a few months and travel. Ugh. That’s my fear. I’ll try not to wait too long.
Oh, there’s still that bread to make. While some crave chocolate, wine or perhaps a steak, I crave the carbs most often. Karen’s eschewing of my pressure cooker bread kicked my confidence a touch. Would it suck? It’s what she’s thinking, now I’m thinking. Frying pans replace pressure cookers in my head. What about naan, the indian flat bread. There are some great recipes. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Naan/Detail.aspx
My ADD and Internet lust delays me. I write this blog. It frees my mind, let’s me dump a few thoughts.. feel creative.. and adds just a touch of pressure to actually do that of which I speak.
I stop writing and begin to prepare the dough. The dogs, peacefully sitting together in a sliver of sunlight on my living room floor have something of a food “jones”, so they follow me into the kitchen hoping for crumbs. The cat, on the chair above them knows my kitchen work rarely involves dropped tuna, so he stays in the sun. He groans slightly as he readjusts himself, a sound I find I rather enjoy. I know that satisfaction of a stretched induced groan. He licks himself and purrs. He knows the satisfaction of it all, too.
Let’s see. Hot water. Yeast. Sugar.
Wait, the hummingbirds… as the feeder in my window is empty. There will be no hummingbird feeders on the journey, but I must be practical here.. if just for a moment.
I forget where I am on the bread, a natural state of mind for me, especially of late, and let the water I put on the stove to warm for the yeast become hot.. as in boiling. I am making this bread by hand, as I don’t presume I’ll have room for my bread maker on this unplanned journey. Live in the moment, Buddha says. When you bake bread… bake bread. I stop writing, if only for a moment.
Twenty minutes later the moment passes and I start to write again. It’s not easy being a Buddhist, as my mind wanders from the bread often. Actually, that implies I even thought of the bread. I did, I guess, though it was front and center for a period of time that is measure in the dozens of seconds. The dogs are back on the floor, slightly to the east now, as the sun and shadows play roman sundial across my carpet. One’s head rest upon the other. They are such friends.
One wonders how well they live in the moment. I am sure they think of food, perhaps of walks. Mostly them seem to respond to what’s around them, from the banging trash can to the quiet groans of that cat, their ears never stopping. They seem to define living in the moment.
I created the Yahoo Shantyboat newsgroup, about 800 of us or so now, and I must moderate the posts each day. Spam can get ugly, as can the comments of those even further to the fringes than the general population of a shantyboat group. Most members are great, but a few never learned to play nicely in the sandbox. I mention all this, as I get a note, one I must moderate, saying he has a set of plans available for the Cape Codder, the larger sister houseboat to the Aqua Casa I mentioned in a previous note. Hmm. Self control is hard.
You can’t trailer the thing, but what a nice homebase to come back to. My mind wanders for a few minutes pondering the relative merits of building one for the John Day River in Oregon or living on the Snohomish. Time passes.
Dakota, the larger of the two dogs, licks the inside of the ear of his littler brother, Dingo. Does he do that out of an altruistic love, or does he like the flavor of whatever resides in a dogs ear? I’ll call it love. I move across the room to be near them, my feet feeling the warmth of the small remaining sliver of sunlight. Dakota moves away and goes to the couch.
I am enjoying the time I have this morning. My son and daughter are still asleep, though it’s just a few minutes short of 11am on a sunny Sunday morning. Time is part of the equation in this journey. More days like today. I started this blog with a quote that talks of how ones state of mind is more important than location. I couldnt agree more. I know that with the right attitiude you can create time, appreciate the time you have more, and make the most fo the limited time we all have. But then there is reality. Bosses. Car repairs. Still, I won’t dismiss it. There is wisdom here.
I move outdoors to the back deck I cleaned yesterday. The dogs, of course, follow me, and they explore the back yard and sit in the sun as I type. There are birds singing around me, a neighbor working the backyard, and the sound of a couple of sets of chimes quietly ringing in the light wind. The location is my backyard, the mindset is making all the difference.