“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
It’s a beautifully brutal world. I hesitated before writing this post. Our dog Stella died this week and it sucked. There seems to be an unspoken aversion to dealing with sadness in our society. It’s bizarre because we are immersed and steeped in unspeakable images and news. Bombarded with stories of tragedy, war, hunger and global warming. Yet in our daily lives we are awash with sanitized gestures and pictures. “Have a nice day!” is uttered almost mindlessly and the question “how are you?” is answered with an pre-programmed “Fine”, “Good” or “Great”. I always wondered what people would do if you answered honesty – “Well I actually my day sucked, my dog died.”…or… “I am so incredibly bored by this conversation and just want to go home and have a glass of that wine you just sold me…so hurry up with that receipt.”
These interactions are indicative of the overriding fact our society is becoming increasingly unwoven. The threads picked apart by our dependence on social media and handheld devices instead of community. One of the most wonderful things that happened to our family all week came from neighbors we hardly knew. Upon finding out about Stella’s death they sent my kids a poem on loss. A beautiful, simple acknowledgment of our sadness.
When did happiness become so gosh darned important? Success! Love! Smiles and kittens! I call BS. Life is so much more complicated, thank God. Surrounding those momentary glimpses of happiness is real life. Monotony, indifference, exhaustion, sadness, depression, insecurity, frailty, frustration and anger. All valid and important ingredients. Without these feelings there would be no poetry, art, music, food, introspection or forward momentum. Just a world of automatic responses, photoshopped images, happy tweets and vapid Facebook postings covering up a world of alienation .
Why are we encouraged to share only the sweetest moments? Births are celebrated, beginnings and youth. What about the endings, aging and **gasp** sadness? No one wants to be Debbie Downer – but why is this something that even occurred to me? My dog died this week and our hearts are broken. The end of a 12 year life that added so much more to our family than we could ever acknowledge and the loss of her is a painful and difficult thing. The world is peppered and punctuated by such endings. By far the hardest part of a life well lived is allowing yourself the freedom to love with total abandon with full disclosure that one day you will have to say “Good-Bye”. Everyone leaves in the end. Is this such a bad thing? If nothing else it’s real.
So in a nutshell I’m super sad. So what to do? Make pancakes. It’s as simple as that. I will drown my sadness in maple syrup goodness.
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c buckwheat flour
2 cups milk (just over)
3 Tbsp butter (melted and cooled)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 free range egg
Sift together dry ingredients. In a cast iron pan on medium heat melt some additional butter. When it starts to sizzle just a bit you are ready to mix the wet ingredients together with a whisk and then quickly combine with the dry ingredients. I try to stir the batter minimally – and I don’t mind if there are a few lumps. Ladle into the waiting pan. When bubbles rise and break the surface you are read to flip the pancakes. I personally add a bit of butter to the pan each time I make a pancake. This may not be the healthiest option but it gives the exterior of the pancake a nice crisp buttery flavor. Serve immediately with pure maple syrup – or if you are Simon add some chocolate chips (I personally like fruit).
I make these pancakes without a recipe so this is me trying to put it together for the internet. We play with combinations of flours and thickness, you should do the same! It’s fun to experiment. Frankly we like ours on the flatter side and I have a tendency to add more milk depending on the feel of the batter. I used to associate fluffy pancakes with success but my son Simon told me quite frankly that he prefers the thinner lighter version. Anyway in my house these equal love. Plus Stella enjoyed getting the scraps Jack would jettison from his highchair.