Rage for Order
I knew I must be tired. I had gotten in at midnight the night before on one of those New-Hampshire-to-New-York-via-Dulles flights: I, who am never voluntarily awake at that hour. But somehow I sprang awake in time for the 8am service across the street and the Bible study afterward. After a quick trip to the grocery store, I came back home, fully intending to go back to bed, only to find that we were on our last loaf of bread. So I put enough dough for four loaves together and set them to rise.
And then I saw that the refrigerator was crying out for help. There wasn't even room in there for Q's salad fixings -- he'd taken to storing them out in the cold pantry, something he has to do when there's a big holiday ham or turkey in the fridge but which by now had continued into February. This was unseemly. Also, the freezer was so crowded there would be nowhere to store the coming bread unless I took action. So I got out the baking soda and began.
By the time the icebox was empty and the freezer rearranged, the bread was riz and I stopped to form the loaves. I figured it would take them exactly the same time to double in size as it would take to clean the interior of the fridge, and I was exactly right. Into the oven they went.
But rescuing the salad greens from the pantry to return them to their rightful home in the refrigerator, I noticed that the pantry needed help, too. There were too many jars with missing lids, Q's tools on too many shelves in too little order, too many garden things shelved amid cans of tomato paste. Birdseed and sticks of spaghetti littered the floor, along with my mother-in-law's heavy iron roaster that deserved a home somewhere besides on the linoleum. Okay.
By the time the shelves on one side of the pantry had been cleared and washed, the loaves of bread were done and needed to come out of the oven to rest on their sides and ponder their limited future. Dozens of assorted glass jars and lids that didn't match any of them now littered the kitchen counter; it was hard to find a place to rest the loaves. But the pantry was taking shape: the floor was clean, the roaster was on its low shelf, the birdseed had been decanted into a more stable container than the paper bag in which it came.
Four loaves of bread. A clean refrigerator. A pantry that made sense. One more Bible study across the street. Finally, I was tired. But oh, order! I carry little order with me, either in my hands or in my head, and so I long for it all the time. How lovely it was, that final pulling up of the bedcovers, that sinking the small of my back into the mattress, as the clean refrigerator hummed downstairs, the cold pantry sat silent, dark and clean, and the loaves of bread waited.
This weekend, Feb 11 and 12, Barbara Crafton will celebrate and preach at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Metuchen, NJ. Said Eucharist Saturday at 5:30pm and Sunday at 8am, Sung Eucharist Sunday at 10 am, and Bible studies Sunday at 9am and 6pm. Telephone 732-548-4308 or visit http://www.stlukes17.org/