A Baker’s Daze: Where the daze is long and the nights are short

For the past week, I have been rising from bed at approximately four A.M.    And by rising, I mean yanking myself from the depth of a deep sleep, mumbling a few blushing profanities to my phone (a two-faced, friendly communicating device by day and evil, alarm clock spawn by night), and dazedly managing to collect myself and my belongings into a semi-presentable form to face the new day.

Why am I awake at the uncivilized hour of four a.m.?  I am baking bread.  For this three-week class of bread, I must adjust to awaking before the sun, the birds and tucking the stars in to sleep.

I’ve always considered myself to be a “morning person,” but this class is challenging the core of my self-identity.   What are you?  I, I Marissa, am a morning person.  I am one who rises early and sings little morning ditties for any who will listen.   I am one of those.  The kind that the night crawlers loathe.  I’ve never been bashful about my love for the morning.  It is a time of productivity and possibly.  This mantra, of sorts, has been with me since the beginning, when, I believed, to my parents’ chagrin, that playtime should begin promptly at 6:00a.m.

Now, my sense of self-understanding is on the brink of a cataclysmic crisis.  I press the snooze button.  And I snooze on with a lethargic resignation that puts Eeyore to shame.

I feel like a wimpy baker.

But, off I go, leaving the snooze button behind and a travel mug attached to my hand like an extension of my weary limb.   The coffee is consumed in a matter of minutes and suddenly I find myself in the bakeshop (The commute is always a sort of fuzzy memory.  Much closer to the memory of a dream than reality).

Water goes into the mixer, then the yeast and flour and salt, and it starts to form dough.  The yeast always wakes up before I do.  It nudges me and I groan a little in protest.  (Clearly, karma is hard at work for all the unsuspecting sleepers I’ve disrupted over the years.)  But, eventually I hear it sing a familiar, little morning song that fills the bakeshop with incredible smells and sounds and life.  After a little bit of poking and prodding I’m up and humming along.

The hours may be early, even by the standards of an early riser, but somehow what I’m getting up for shakes me from my dazed state.   So, tomorrow I’ll get up, but until then and until my phone shouts and the yeast tells me it’s time for breakfast, this baker can be found in bed.  Additionally, she makes a formal apology to all of those who have been subject to any of her early morning disturbances.  Sleep late, sleep well and if you must wake up early, wake up to something lovely, like the smell of yeast and baking bread.

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