It had been awhile since I felt the joyous urge to break out the flour, butter and sugar and make a right mess of my kitchen. I had been out of it. Uninspired. Amidst financial turmoil and rather large life changes, I couldn't find the time or the desire to indulge in one of my favorite forms of meditation.
I was working, scrambling, picking up random gigs to make ends meet and not seeing much further than what was ahead of me each day.
During this time, I ended up in the mountains. On a whim, while working on a story, my publisher and I serendipitously arrived on the doorstep of Smoke Signals Bakery in Marshall, North Carolina on the only day the shop is open to the public for a brief four hour window. I don't believe there are any coincidences.
I interviewed Tara Jensen, radical baker/owner/artist/magical woman and enjoyed a peaceful two hours at her homestead that felt like taking a deep cleansing breath. We lazed around near the wood fired oven, ate fat pieces of crusty bread with juicy heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with crunchy bits of sea salt and talked of bread and love. I told Tara about a blackberry pie I wanted to make before the season was over and she graciously let us peek into her artists journal.
Over consecutive weekends after that visit to Marshall, I baked and shared plates of pie with people I love, inspired and conscious of my need for white space and simplicity after months of seismic change. I found Tara on Instagram and began following her beautiful feed. Soon after, I signed up for one of her pie classes. The afternoon is a small, intimate learning experience open to a maximum of six people. We make pie, eat snacks and learn the nuances of pie. I took a Sunday for myself, another breath of fresh air.
Life is leveling out once again and I am making pie with frequency and with new confidence thanks to the skills I picked up at Smoke Signals and I've enjoyed a sweet shift in perspective thanks to those unexpected moments that grant us a little room to breathe.