Mud and Bread

My children are made of mud and bread.

The mud creeps up their knees, caking shoes and enveloping fingers. Dirt may be inviting to children, but mud is a calling. It is wrong and it is wonderful; it is a nightmare and it is heaven. In mud, destruction and creation are married. In mud, my children play.

They splash and drops land on their noses. They fling it back and forth, shouting and giggling. Children are made to play, to explore, to fall, to fail. They are meant to change, to grow, to redirect, to try once more. Children are meant for mud.

The bath is long and in the midday. The mud has hidden itself, unashamed of its wrongdoing, yet wanting to escape the forthcoming and punishment. I eek it out of ears, hair, noses and it heads down the drain, rejoining its rightful spot on the earth. My children are scrubbed pink again. Bathed in dirt, they become alive. Bathed in water, they become tired, heads heading heavily towards pillows.

In hours, they will awake again, hungry from adventure, hungry for food. I mix flour and water, salt and yeast, watching the pale muck and mire transform into sustenance.  The loaf rests on the counter, pallid and unattractive. Three light slashes from the knife across the top and it has room to rise and grow. In fire, it will harden and be made beautiful. At the table it will be broken and shared, sustaining the lives I once created.

They wake, and demand pieces of crust to be gnawed on and ultimately abandoned behind couch cushions.

Mud and bread. It is the process of creation we witness daily. Life becomes death and death becomes life. Children splash in puddles and grow in and out of mud. Messes become memories and bread is made, eaten, and forgotten. This is the ashes to ashes and dust to dust. We are made of mud and bread.



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