I have my rituals. Friday through Monday, when I can, I get in the car with Bird and head to Freestone before the line at Wild Flour gets a chance to form. That means getting in the car by 7:40 AM. If I get there by 7:55 I am almost guaranteed to be one of the first ten in line. Sometimes I am the first! This is exciting because it means I don’t have to wait.
I’ll wait for some things: the mail, the weather to clear, my nail polish to chip, but when it comes to warm scones, bread and hot espresso, uh huh. No thank you.
The other day I sent my friend HBL a picture of the lunch I made, and he wrote back, Why don’t you have some salad with your bread?
Uh, no. The bread is the point of the meal. The salad is the price I pay for having a body with needs.
I also have a rituals for the different types of bread. For the fougasse (shiitake mushroom, onion, garlic, smoked gouda, jack and swiss cheese) and gouda flat (aged gouda, onion, herbs), the ritual is to eat the whole loaf in one sitting as it is. I pretend to eat just a piece, but I keep tearing off chunks until there is so little left it’s embarrassing not to finish the whole thing. The sticky bun I buy for friends because I want them to like me even more. The garlic rosemary is what I basically live on because it goes with everything including, according to me, ice cream. This ritual involves the olive oil made from the olives here at Spirit Hill and a pan. I make a thick cut of bread, sometimes a triangle, sometimes a slice, and I pour a healthy covering of olive oil in a pan and sprinkle some kosher salt on it before frying the bread on both sides to a kind of soggy toast.
And here’s the best part: I have been eating this bread steadily, like a wood chipper, perhaps, for months and months and I HAVE NOT GAINED A POUND.
And I think I know why:
I believe the unadvertised ingredient is love. And love, although epic, is weightless.
Today is my dog Bird’s 1st birthday, and I took him to Wild Flour because, well, it’s Saturday. I told Dez, the manager it was Bird’s birthday, and Dez made a BIG DEAL out of him. She praised him, petted him, got him all riled up on her way between flipping the closed sign to open and going back into the bakery. She celebrated him, and he was all over the place with delight. When she went back into the bakery, she had the others inside come to the door and call out to Bird and wish him happiness. And Bird stood up, pressed his body against the screened door as if to say I BELONG HERE WITH YOU GUYS.
Bird may love Wild Flour as much as I do. Guess why. They give heart-shaped DOG TREATS!! And sometimes they put his name on my coffee cup! They call out BIRD when it’s my time to come to the window to order. Bird feels like a celebrity at Wild Flour. He doesn’t like the scones, but man oh man he likes everyone in line; he likes all the people who work there, and he loves the treats. He stands up at the window and lets the friendly crew know he is ready to be rewarded.
Did I mention this is a busy place? And yet they still manage to make a 12-pound dog and his 146-pound owner feel special.
Recently, some of my coffee cups have had drawings on them. The first time it happened I didn’t notice until I was walking to my car. I wondered if they’d ordered new cups. Then the idea crept into my head that I was holding an original. That someone had drawn something beautiful on the very cup I was holding and then unceremoniously given it to me. When I went back the next day I asked, and it was true! The red-haired artist was the one ringing up my order!
I think my body loves this whole experience so much that it takes what it is fed from Wild Flour seriously and receives it with the same light and loving grace with which it is given. Which means my body does not hold on. My body knows love when it eats it, and it knows more is always coming. My body burns that bread up and says more more more.
This is what happened to me when I first came to Spirit Hill almost two years ago, and it was why I ended up staying.
So many things feed us, and this is a lovely thing because more often than not I am so very hungry.