Running. With Incongruity.

Friday. Early afternoon. A crack between conference calls.

I run.

I’m up a whopping seven pounds since being sheltered in place. There are no barriers to entry, to the Fridge, to the pantry, to the potato chips. Or the counter tops, which on alternative days are lined with Susan’s Chocolate chip cookies, Zucchini loaves and Banana Bread.

I flip her an article: “Forget the Sourdough. Everybody’s Baking Banana Bread” and highlight the punch line:

Nervous about venturing into markets, many people are making do with ingredients at hand, including the moldering bananas. In the past month, banana bread beat out pancakes, brownies and pizza dough as the No. 1 searched-for recipe in the U.S. and world-wide, according to Google. The humble loaves are taking a star turn on Instagram and Twitter…. “The isolation stages of grief,” another said, are “denial, anger, banana bread.”

But I feel little of this. No grief. No denial. Little isolation. OK, maybe anger, ever-present, on slow boil.

And yet again, I’m out of step with the Pack, feeling none of the isolation, feeling none of the mid-winter-like cabin fever others are swamped in.

You’re doing quite well in the new Normal. A brief acknowledgement, a moment of peace, of doing ok, opens the gates to psychoanalysis, not unlike Stephanie Danier in her Sweetbitter: “You need to do more than keep an eye out for incongruity. You have a blindspot for the unraveling whole.

It’s 51° F. Rain mists.

U.S. 1, the main artery in our town, is eerily quiet for this time of day. A few cars. A few walkers with dogs. Fed Ex and UPS rushing back and forth, keeping the quarantined supplied.

I turn off the highway into the park, I’m winded.

I stop to pull out my smartphone.

I watch her waddle back towards water. Not in a hurry.

Be, like the Mallard.

Be, like Yiyun Li in her “moments spent alone that are the preferred narrative: ‘I was happy walking by myself.’

Be, like Rousseau, “I was conscious of nothing else. In this instant I was being born again, and it seemed as if all I perceived was filled with my frail existence. Entirely taken up by the present, I could remember nothing; I had no distinct notion of myself as a person, I did not know who I was, nor where I was… I felt through my whole being such a wonderful calm, that whenever I recall this feeling I can find nothing to compare with it in all the pleasures that stir our lives.

I watch her step into the water and float downstream with the current.

I slide my phone into my pocket, and resume my run.

Misty rain gives way to light rain, rainfall mixes with sweat, leaving salt on my tongue.

Alchemy.

Be, like me.


Photo: Mine – Stamford Cove Park, 2:36 PM, May 1, 2020

Comments

  1. I keep baking, I just can´t stop. Comfort food. Today it will be a plum cake. We don´t need it but we need it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. For me, this week’s cri de cœur was a homemade Coconut Cream Pie, a favorite from childhood that my grandmother always made. I found myself longing for a piece in a way that I cannot explain, so I headed for the kitchen. It was all me tucking into that first slice….💕

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It was all that, pal. I haven’t had it in *years*, and the rush of memories that first bite brought back was crazy. I will send you the recipe. Perhaps Susan can whip a pie up for you? 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I could just send you a picture of my pie (yes, I went there. It was just so pretty…) Go for your run, pal. Get those endorphins cranking, you’ll feel better and you will forget all about that pie (maybe).

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Laughing at your conversation with Lori…I’m still stuck on Susan’s article – is that your Susan?? And if so, I feel like an idiot for not knowing (not that I would, but still – any excuse to feel like an idiot is justification in my book). There is comfort in baking – in seeing ingredients that seem to arbitrary morph into smells that tickle the nose and make the mouth water. It’s the most soothing form of control…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Have another slice of banana bread..

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m not sure what concerns me more…. you posting this just before 3am or me being up at 3am, scanning emails when it appeared on my phone? I might need to change the the name of my blog to “Mitigating Chaos-I Can’t Sleep Either”. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. i’m finding that i’m settling in, love the slower pace, fuzzy time commitments, simpler life. what i do miss are the face to face human connections and the choice of going and where and when i want to go. all that being said, i’m overall okay and am grateful.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sawsan says:

    Love your photo 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Running. Baking. Incongruity. Floating. Downstream.
    __
    Upstream.
    I cannot say this out in public, to my cohorts.
    I prefer it.

    The kitchen. The smells. The solitude.

    Gifts.
    Grateful.

    (I have been reading your blog off and on for a year (ish)… I am often moved
    to write
    back.
    But today, my fingers actually composed a note…which is never unusual…but today, I write in this “Reply Box,” and press “Post Comment.”

    Why today? Running.
    Incongruity.

    Confession.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And so glad you did! Your comment (especially ‘confession’) triggered a host of thoughts and landed here:

      “Concealment makes the soul a swamp; confession is how you drain it.”

      ~ Charles M. Blow, from “It Got Better. That’s My Testimony.” (NY Times, June 16, 2019)

      Thanks for dropping by…Love the introspection.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. blessedreams says:

    Fantastic creature

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Since this all began, for us on Mar 5 when we realized we’d have to self-isolate to create a healthy perimeter around my COPD husband, I have gone through almost 40 pounds of flour, a large jar of yeast and well on my way to finishing the second (the hunt is now on for more) and as of yet, no banana bread made.

    I am resisting.

    Perhaps it is a sign of my natural desire to go against the flow. Yet, no matter how hard I paddle upstream, the river never flows backwards.

    And still, people talk about ‘getting back to normal’.

    Me, I’d like to keep this bubble of calm, this ocean of global connectedness and the smog-free blue skies and clear waters teeming with life, sheltered, in place, always.

    Liked by 4 people

    • COPD husband. Hope he is ok!?!?

      And the river never flows backwards. Love that!

      Like

    • Louise, I wish I could frame your comment ….. the citation of Rivers flowing upstream (not) that’s a fave of my mother. Just last week in the phone she reminded me for the 4th thousand’s time: I see your Limmat (a river where I grew up) is still flowing upstream….. 🤨😉
      Saying that I don’t just simply accept something because it is ‘told and that’s that ‘.
      I feel quite comfy in this much more quiet bubble too. If only there wasn’t so much food (dessert style,) about….. 👩🏼‍🍳🍫

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your mother sounds a bit like my mother was Kiki. Her favourite to me was “Why do you have to do it your way?” Of course, my response tended to go along the lines of… “Because I’ll never know if my way works unless I try it.” 🙂

        Yes, this quiet bubble is comforting — and yup – that food thingie is a tad too comforting! Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

  13. I’ve found a solution that helps my need to stress-cook/bake: I still do it .. but I bundle it up and deliver to neighbors. 🙂 Neighbors are happy, I get to pet their dogs, I come back to a kitchen that smells amazing (banana bread muffins last weekend) and all is right with the world .. mostly 😉 No running, just daily walks helping my sanity.

    ~MJ

    Liked by 2 people

  14. You could try thinking of your fridge as a person (maybe draw a big happy face on it) and then practice social distancing.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. I guess I’m out of step with the pack as well – and I’m ok with it as well. The Li and Rousseau quotes are perfect…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. all that baking sounds great. i’m about to start in on the cookie baking.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have heard the banana bread stage of grief is quite serious ha!

    “But I feel little of this. No grief. No denial. Little isolation. OK, maybe anger, ever-present, on slow boil. “

    Take a moment to re-read this sentence? A volcano 🌋 beneath you in the making,
    that may erupt at any moment.. only being held down by home baking. This made me laugh 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Steve Renfro says:

    I can corroborate much of what I’m hearing here. I was a chef for a long time. 20 years ago. But as time has gone on I’ve lost that Zen thing. Generally, if it takes more than five minutes to do, i find a way to not do it. Its bled over into cooking. If I cant have it ready to eat in 20 minutes, I’m not going to make it.
    But thats changed the last month. I’ve marinated pork chops overnight, smoked ribs for 5 hours, made pot roast a couple times, letting it simmer for hours.
    And two nights ago I was going to bake a chicken, easy easy, but instead I decided to go through the touble and make a huge mess of frying the darn thing. Was it worth it, culinarily? I dont know. Not really.
    But it felt good.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Christie says:

    We’ve had the basic banana bread changed up with the add on(s) for over two years now…I saw this recipe and ask kindly for him to make it…https://food52.com/recipes/82986-banana-bread-scones-recipe
    He did made these the other day…he chose to wing it…not even reading(just a glance once) the recipe he will follow the recipe to the tee next time… HE is such a great cook and baker, a person can’t bat 100 every time…
    Susan should make the scones and then you can report to us about them including a photo…I have always sent great recipes your way…
    btw they have now planted just over 100 tomato plants…more than last year…yum tomato jam, tomato sauce and lots of caprice salad or caprice sandwiches in our future …we’ll also dry some…and share some…we have shared starts last year, probably will this year as well..

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Christie says:

    he chuckled when I read the comment to him before posting…he said yup they sure didn’t turn out right 🙂 I’ll try again…Such a sweet, giving and understanding person…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I read this at 6 am this morning and realised that I forgot to come back to comment because I was going to say how ironic that I – me! – wrote about running yesterday, as well! And then could not find my post! WP decided to backdate it to April 1 because, why should my stuff appear on the reader? So I got sidetracked. But here I am.
    Anyhoo… I am honestly loving this “time out”. As people-person as I can be, I am not missing work. At. All. Or people. I am, however, cooking up a storm but no way José am I baking – except for my son’s birthday and it wasn’t even a cake, he wanted key lime pie. So he got it. Two weeks later it was my birthday, so my mother sent over my favourite spice cake. That got devoured in two days – and I even let the boys each have a piece 😉 So. No. No baking. Well, no, that’s not true. When there are three bananas looking like they need extra love, they go into one dozen banana chocolate-chip muffins. Mixed and baked and ready to eat within 30 minutes. And since March 9, I have made them twice. My butt does NOT need the extra – it’s getting enough from the pasta, fried chicken, pizza, steaks… etc.
    I think Susan is not being fair, knowing you are a sucker for sweets, by providing endless supplies of them. Just sayin’.
    Love your photo of the mallard. He’s a beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This made me grin for all the time it took reading your post and the comments…. I can’t quite understand the universal fascination with banana bread. I like bananas alright, in their god-given form but not in any other. I went through the stages of dried, incorporated in yoghurts, in cake as in b.bread, as horrible hard pieces in Müesli mixes, grilled on the BBQ and in the frying pan – all failing to deliver what gets ‘my’ juices flowing. But I’m fascinated what it seems to do to the global population EVERYWHERE. And I’m glad for all of you. Now going back to my apéro of a glass (or rather the 2nd) dry white wine, pistachios, and then dragging my backside to do some cooking (which is more or less all I do, plus eating, plus drinking etc) And then some light reading.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Christie says:

    A lot of the plants are Heirlooms which do not produce as many tomatoes as hybrid varieties… you have to account for hail damage, the possibility of blight, one year we had a rat that would gnaw on a nice big juicy tomato that we’d planned on picking the next day…”yum tomato jam, tomato sauce and lots of caprice salad or caprice sandwiches in our future …we’ll also dry some…and share some…we have shared starts last year, probably will this year as well..” We will make and can salsa this year, too…

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Christie says:

    ohh…about 20 minutes ago he stepped into view and said I am going to make some Banana bread! This was just after he threw out what was left of the so called banana scones…I smell “B” bread baking now! He said I’m so glad we ordered that 20lbs of gluten free flour since we used that last of our regular amt of g-free flours….you wouldn’t want to know how expensive it was…shipping alone was $14.00 shocking…locally all the g-free items are wiped out…still hard to get Toilet Paper …dear hubby and dear daughter say you wouldn’t want to see the store(s) so many blank shelves…they have to go stores many times a week trying to find what we need…they bought 15lbs of potatoes & a few other things at a restaurant supply store, they said the walking in meat room is decimated…
    adding that we need to step up production of pepper starts…a pest has been eating our Corn starts! digs them up eat the seed and all the green, this has happened twice now …he planted more…and they are covered…the pest had even gotten into the greenhouse(s) and had his fill earlier in the season…We had frost the other morning, lots of rain and it will be in the 81 next Friday and Saturday…When we were first married we won an honor our local utility had a garden contest and we either won 1st or 2nd best garden in town, they gave us a nice big container of chrysanthemums and something else …they took photos of course…he has won 1st prize at the fair too…the banana bread with sunflower seeds is yummy just warm from the oven…

    Liked by 1 person

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