There’s a moment I keep returning to, one sprinkled with discarded crumbs. One patched together with gobs of freshly harvested honey. One, two, fifty versions of the same exquisitely ordinary moment:
Breakfast with Granny.
Before my grandmother passed away seven years ago, we used to spend two weeks of the summer with her in England. Granny lived in a small village in Somerset, not so far away from Stonehenge. Her idyllic cottage was tucked away at the corner of a narrow street, perpetually shaded by a growing canopy of slender trees and scraggly bushes. I always loved the sweeping sound the branches made as they tickled the sides of our rental car. Matched with the crackling crunch of Granny’s driveway, it was as if a small symphony had prepared for our arrival each year.
During those summers, we spent most of our time exploring the region or relaxing in Granny’s gorgeous back garden or walking her stately little dog, Sky. But mornings with Gran were simply blissful, the best part of every visit.
Granny never believed in sleeping in so each night I went to bed on the extra bed in Mum’s old childhood bedroom, I did so knowing I would be awoken the next morning before my body and mind were ready to greet the new day. However, I never minded losing out on an hour or two of sleep (she woke me up earlier as the years went on) because in the kitchen there would always be a wide selection of mini cereal boxes on display in a neat row on the table, which was pushed against her wide front window.
I usually went for the cocoa krispies or frosted flakes, depending on what the day ahead called for. But cereal was simply the appetizer as Gran, always dressed in a long, checkered robe, shuffled around her pantry, looking for the pristine jar of liquid gold labeled as her neighbor’s freshly-made honey.
I’m sure I don’t have to convince most of you that eating buttered toast, suffocated with a thick, creamy layer of homemade honey is a blissful, heavenly, euphoric culinary experience. Imagine experiencing that every single morning while classical music plays on an old-fashioned radio, the kind with an antenna and dial. Imagine the luxury of looking out of a window pressed against the British countryside each morning while your dear British grandmother fills you in on the small village gossip-who’s stealing flowers from the neighbor’s garden, who’s naming their British newborn a much-too-American name etc.
I imagine it now just as I did yesterday and the day before. In fact, those breakfasts with Granny have been on my mind a lot lately because I’m just starting to understand what makes a simple moment beautiful and comfortable, what makes it take precedence in my memory.
Simple moments are generated by an intricate collection of systems. The fresh honey on my morning toast was the product of a hive’s lifetime of work. The steady stream of classical music was composed by a master musician who probably spent hours toiling over a single verse. And the woman behind the magic, my grandmother, knew I was a frosted-flake-honey-toast girl because we started forging a familial bond the moment I was born twenty-four years ago. It seems more often than not, simplicity is the result of intricacy, complication and love.
So this week, when I found myself caught in a terrific thunderstorm, I reveled in the simplicity of a complicated, natural phenomenon.
I let the rain bat me awake with its torrent of lukewarm micro slaps, let it soak my clothes and skin and hair as I took my time walking home. The thunder rumbled, perhaps disgruntled by my lack of urgency. But I was in no rush, just in the moment created by a giant clash of weather systems. The earth and sky and swollen clouds were all involved. What a waste it would be to sprint home and ignore their efforts to cleanse my body and soul with buckets of carefully manufactured rain.
But it’s about more than just living in the moment. We have to understand the moment as well. We must understand that so many things have taken place, so many people have taken careful attention to ensure we have an endless string of simple, beautiful moments to indulge in. Embracing each moment is not just a service to ourselves. It’s a small token of gratitude to our universal architects of day-to-day happiness.
So Granny, I hope you know that eating honey toast with you in the morning was one of the most monumental moments of my life.
Take a Moment,
Thanks for always giving me such positive, hopeful reminders, Anna 🙂 I really liked your connections at the end, about the honey to the work of the hive, and the music to the practice and determination of a musician or orchestra. I will be reflecting on this myself as I go about my day!
Aww thanks Rachelle 🙂
Oh Anna this is my absolute favourite blog – you took me right back into my Mum’s kitchen and I could feel and hear her. Thanks so much for writing this. I am so blessed to have a daughter who through her writing can take me back in time and I know those moments you and Brian had with Granny were so treasured by her. Mum x
Aww, you’re most welcome Mum 🙂 Blessed to have a Mum like you!