I made a blueberry pie. It felt, at first, like a sad thing: berries and flour from the B&B, measuring cups from my former life.
But then the comfort and familiarity and the activeness of making a pie changed things, maybe in the way ingredients are changed by cutting them into one another and then baking at 425° for 50 minutes: everything is exactly what it was before, and nothing is the same.
I made pies before I ran a bed and breakfast, before I met Jay and got married, before I even had my first kiss with anyone ever. I have been making pies my whole life– and that is a comfort and a strength. This wasn’t about the last year of my life, this reaches back through more lifetimes than I know, because someone taught my grandma how to make pie, and someone taught that woman, too, and standing in my small but workable kitchen was standing in the company of many, many women who, whatever their shortcomings may have been, understood the alchemy of pie.
I haven’t watched it for ages, but a movie I love is “Waitress.” Kerri Russel’s character invents pies everyday for the cafe where she works, and throughout the upheaval and redemption and expansion of her life, she is at home in her kitchen, transforming simple ingredients into incomparable magic.
I took frozen berries (that were no longer allowed the limited real estate of my small freezer) and bulk flour (that I had no idea would take so long to use up when not baking for eight people everyday), and I made a beautiful thing that delighted the neighbors; something special out of something I didn’t really want anymore.
You don’t have to look hard for the metaphor in that. And if you don’t want to look at all, you can just eat a slice of blueberry pie and let that be enough, because it is.