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Figuring It Out

Figuring It Out Figuring It Out

The Table

If you’re like me, coronavirus concerns periodically sneak up and wallop you upside the head. A little cough? Could be pneumonia! Feeling chilled? Get me the thermometer! Shortness of breath? Who cares that I’m hiking uphill, this could be serious!

Like many people I’m working more from home these days, and finding that brings with it a certain laxity in matters of dress and grooming. Who cares if my clothes are mud-spattered and wrinkled when I’m not planning on emerging from my cozy forest habitat? And if my hair is reminiscent of Grimm’s Fairy Tale illustrations of cackling old hags, so what? Maybe I’m discovering my inner hag and enjoying the experience, I say.

But a few days a week I clean up to head into town and help Tom out at the shop. One such day recently I was out on my morning walk before driving into work and became concerned over an unfamiliar feeling of constriction in my chest. I was immediately worried about pulmonary congestion, but then realized this was the first day in a while since I had bothered with a brassiere, so...

Adjustments: We’re all making them these days, and some of them are harder than others. Tom has been helping a lot of people adjust to working/going to school from home the last few weeks, and there are some real struggles going on. I would venture to say that it’s not the technology that has people tied in knots so much as the constant buzz of anxiety going on in the backs of our minds these days. We all have to be mindful of a virus that could sicken and kill us and/or those we love, at the same time that everything that gives our lives structure and stability has been upended.

All of which is to say that we’re all in unfamiliar territory, here. Don’t be surprised if you’re snapping at people, or staring blankly out the window and not feeling able to do much of anything. You’ll get to the place you need to be. You’ll figure this out. Why? Just because this is the way things are now, and we don’t have any choice but to work it out and come up with a plan.

This won’t be a smooth process, by any means. You will make a list of what needs to be done, tick the first box or two, then use the list as kindling in the bonfire of your ambitions. You will put a brave front on for your kids/spouse/parents by day and spend the night watching the hours creep by as you stare wide-eyed at everything that frightens you the most. You will get up and dust yourself off etc, etc, then find yourself slumped on the couch at noon in your pajamas with no control over the tears that seem to run down your face all on their own.

That’s just the way things are right now. If you come through this time, it will be with the understanding that it isn’t glamorous or heroic, it’s a messy daily slog. Nobody knows what the future will be. All we have is our decision to take the next step in a forward direction. In these hard times, it’s a decision to be made every day. Sometimes every hour.

Here’s the recipe that I didn’t have room to include last week. It’s a very forgiving recipe, so feel free to change it up according to what you have in your pantry. This is the bread of our ancestors, made when most people didn’t have ovens in their homes.

Brown Bread

Mix together;

2 cups of flour (Use different kinds: rye, whole wheat, corn meal, rolled oats -- just generally have about half of it white flour or it will be quite crumbly) ¾ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt

Then stir in until just mixed:

6 tablespoons of oil or melted butter 1 cup milk, buttermilk or yogurt 1 beaten egg ½ cup molasses or honey ½ cup raisins, chopped dates or other dried fruit (optional) Pour into a greased can -- 1 lb coffee can with the lip crimped down, one of those large broth cans, or experiment with several soup cans. Leave 1 ½ inch of space on top and seal with greased tin foil. Place in a large pot. Pour hot water into the pot until it reaches ½-¾ up the can. Simmer with the pot covered -- about an hour for large cans, probably ½ hour for smaller. Check with toothpick. Remove from water to cool ten minutes, then unmold. My stock pot accommodates three large cans, so I usually triple this recipe.

Sally Rasmussen lives in rural Taylor County with her husband, Tom.