While Janet takes on the enormous, I take on the quotidian.
As every summer, I am in the French countryside until the end of August give or take a week. It's beautiful. And I am thankful for every day that starts anew. And each of those new days starts with a walk to the bakery, where we by our next 24 hours' supply of bread. Three baguettes if we are all here. Just one or two if I am here with my children and my mother-in-law.
As I've mentioned before, my mother-in-law lived here, in this town, during World War II. She lived with her severe grandmother. And they knew hunger.
One of the memories she has which seems to be clear and not rewritten by Alzheimer's is of her grandmother saying, "You must respect the bread." What she meant by this was more specific than you might think. She meant:
The bread should be cut and not torn. Tearing it is disrespectful of its fiber and its integrity.
The bread should be covered with a cloth to protect it from flies.
The bread should be handled with care, even with love, if you will.
The bread should be eaten with thanks. Great thanks.
And most of all, the bread should never be wasted.
I'm still often guilty of tearing bread (I feel like I become one with it when I rip into its crust enclosed softness), but I think about her words every, single day. About the depth and breadth of the statement. It goes beyond kitchen and table, into field and factory. If one is to respect the bread, one respects what goes into it. And one respects the earth that gives rise to all those ingredients. And one respects the hand that made it.
The man that makes the bread in this small town, wakes up every day at 4:30 or 5:00. He feeds everyone of the 375 souls who live here. He does not take vacation. His name is Gérard, and he is missing some teeth. He greets me always with a smile and chatter that I have difficulty deciphering. He is covered with flour. His cat sleeps in the bakery on a stack of newspapers.
Tomorrow is another day. And another loaf of bread. I cannot wait to taste it. If there is a 'God Particle,' it will be baked inside it. —Charlotte