But I guess it applies, in a weird way, on this very microscopic level. It's been a rough couple of months- tides have shifted with some friends, and all of a sudden, those who used to be my support are AWOL or are leaning on me. Which is fine, at times, while tiring at others. I've been finding that I've grown more and more quiet, burying things deeper and deeper.
That includes things that make me happy though. I don't know. It's weird- the ground crumbles beneath your feet, and initially, you really think you'll never find your way again. It feels impossible. When it happens, there is this sudden, instant realization that nothing will ever be the same.
It's not overly dramatized sometimes. Sometimes, things do change in that sudden, solitary instant, irreversibly, and there is an immediate, palpable shift in your equilibrium.
But that's not the end. Sometimes I think people are not comfortable talking about it, the oddly beautiful things that come out of things that are undeniably tragic. Those things that are legitimately horrible, that shake you to your very core. But I don't know. I don't think it detracts from the gravity and sadness of a tragedy to recognize that it changed you in ways that were good.
In the moment, it's hard to see. When it first happens, there's nothing but the hollow feeling in your gut, and the unsteadiness that just persists. But later on, when you've had some time, you can look back and be grateful for what you learned, how you changed, what became of you. The only problem is that you have to experience it yourself to believe it. And you can only believe it after a sufficient amount of time has passed.
Yesterday, I made focaccia for the first time. I haven't tried making bread of any kind for several years. My mom bought me a breadmaker about a decade ago, for no good reason, but I was never very pleased with the results of that machine. After yesterday's adventure, I can see why. The fun of bread is the entire process from start to finish- fiddling with water to get it to the right temperature such that you will activate the yeast without killing it completely, kneading it so that all the ingredients are properly incorporated but without overworking it, letting the dough rise and rise again, and then the finish product. In this case, there were about 4 times during the process that I felt certain the whole thing was going to waste. The first time you make anything, it's always hard to get a feel of whether it's going well or not, after all. But in the end, I had rosemary focaccia, and I mean to tell you that it was edible, and it looked like bread! I know, high praise indeed, but I suppose I am with the Dodgeballers in keeping a strict motto of Aim Low! about such things.
Thing is, it made me happy. Maybe happier than it made me to get away from California oh-so-briefly. I keep a little list in my head, of small and quiet things like this. Some of them are recipes, some of them are songs, some of them are long walks in the fog. I keep a short but precious tally, save them up for when I need them. And when I need them, I don't view them as indulgences. And I don't know that I was like that eight years ago. Actually, I take that back. I know I wasn't like that back then.