Fathom Mag

Published on:
April 14, 2020
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2 min.
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We Are All Baking Bread

So many of us are making bread right now. 

We are molding the dough in our hands, then throwing it into a hot oven, to be transformed. We are working at our kitchen tables, listening for the timer to go off, smelling the evidence of something good to come. Somehow, it is healing to bake bread. To know that salt, flour, water, and yeast will rise. That when we stretch the dough, and shape it, we are forming future crust.

The sound of bread cooling isn’t something I ever noticed before.
Rachel Joy Welcher

For most of us, life hasn’t slowed down, it has just shifted. And the shifting has brought uncertainty, amorphous schedules, and a range of emotions. We don’t necessarily have more time on our hands, but the desire to bake something from scratch seems universal. Everywhere I look, there are pictures of homemade cinnamon rolls, cookies, and loaves. We might be stressed and busy, but we are home. We can check the oven. Set the timer. Eat a midmorning snack. 

What we used to do in community is now piled on our dining room tables - textbooks next to breakfast plates, and laptops on the couch. How is your multi-taking going? Have you figured out how to successfully answer work emails while watching Netflix? Me neither. Do you know how to keep your kids entertained after they finish their worksheets? My guess is, you’re not alone. 

But we get creative. I love the stained glass made from chalk that I keep seeing your children create via Facebook. I love the extra time we get to spend with our pets. And my yard has become a little world to explore, especially now that things are blooming. Some of us are connecting with old friends we haven’t spoken to in ages, having figured out how to use video chat. We finish our work early some days, or have a slow morning, and go to bed late. It’s hard to remember the day of the week. 

So we create structure and joy by baking bread, because there are few things more satisfying than sliding a steaming loaf onto a cutting board to rest, and leaning in to hear that crackling sound it makes as it cools. The sound of bread cooling isn’t something I ever noticed before. Now, I look forward to it. I take the bread out of the oven and note the pattern of brown - the places where it has grown dark and crispy - and I lean in to listen to the crackle. It is a small but important accomplishment, turning ivory into gold. 

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine and an Acquisitions Editor for Lexham Press. She earned her MLitt. from The University of St. Andrews. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Two Funerals, Then Easter and Blue Tarp, and the book, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality (InterVarsity Press, 2020). You can follow her on Twitter @racheljwelcher.

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