Sunday, September 20, 2009

Golden Moment

I have the best commute in the world. I walk about 800 feet from the door of my home to the door of the bakery down a curved gravel driveway that is lined with Alaska's natural beauty: birch and spruce trees, high bush cranberry, slimy now-inedible bolete mushrooms. It's just far enough that I feel like I got outside a tiny bit - enough to see the stars or the moon or the fog. Enough to feel the cold in my lungs or a spot of sunshine on my skin. Enough to see the golden autumn leaves falling from the trees as a bit of wind blows from the south.

At 5:00am, I get to feel the darkness. At 8pm when I go home, it's still light at least for another month or so. We're having an excruciatingly gorgeous autumn this year. I often bemoan how little I get outside when I'm mixing bread dough in the 60 quart Hobart mixer around 8am and I look out the window to see the sun peeking over the treetops. Although I expected to work these long, hard hours, I still miss being outside more. Fortunately my walk down the driveway is just long enough, but also not too long - my feet are as tired if not more-so than my brain at the end of my long day.

Last night, I had a moment. One of those moments that takes your breath away, makes tears well up inside you, is incredibly memorable, and yet is just a short, small moment, gone in a flash. I started my walk home and for some reason I turned around. I saw the sun going down behind the incredible yellow-orange autumn birch treetops. In a way, nothing special. But just glimmering enough, just crisp and clear enough, just the right combination of golden sun and golden leaves and golden air to make me stop and sigh and say to myself - wow. I did it. I achieved my dream. And this place is beautiful. My life is good. Exhausting, but good.

I turned back toward home. A few tears found their way down my cheeks - maybe from total exhaustion, maybe from being overwhelmed by the beauty of my surroundings, maybe from actually allowing myself to acknowledge the accomplishment. I went to look for a camera and couldn't find one. The golden moment passed.

I fell into bed. Woke up to the alarm. Stumbled down the driveway in the dark thinking about that movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray wakes up to the same day over and over again.

Today, the wind is blowing. All the leaves are falling down. People are coming and going...eating their fritatas and donut muffins and cream of greens soup, taking home a ruggelach, a black brownie, a loaf of pumpernickel, picking up some caffeine for the road.

Does this weather, this season, the music, the smells...does life make any of them cry like me? Or is this golden moment mine alone?


  1. With you in spirit, Anita. Wishing you many more of those stirring sunsets. Hi to Brian and Oliver.

  2. Thank you for sharing your moment, Anita. I hope I remember to stop and turn around to capture the moment that is following me and begging me to notice it when I am supposed to, like you obviously did. All the blessings in the world to you, your family and your enterprise!

  3. This is utterly beautiful... love, Esther

  4. Wonderfully written Anita. I've been touched by the "magic of living," the beauty of nature that you describe, but not nearly often enough. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of my life as being like "Groundhog Day" . . . over 31 years working for the same company with the same daily commute, and basically, the same people. If it were not for my co-workers though, I fear I would have left long ago. Best wishes to you and your family!

  5. Yes, I think most creative, sensitive people do experience-GOLDEN MOMENTS.

    MUCH LOVE---Mom

  6. As a painter of the landscapes close to where you create your masterpieces, I can tell you that the camera is truly a poor recorder of the real experience. When I look at a painting or pastel study that I've done in the past, even though it consists of merely scribbles of color and flecks of paint, it still contains volumes more information about the experience of being there than a photo could ever convey. Don't worry about the camera. The moment wasn't lost. We experienced it through you.

  7. Anita-so happy for you! Love the visual reading! And am dying to try your rugalah! (sp??) congratulations on living the dream!
    Much love- Lacey