I’ve always had trouble with practice. I love learning new things, starting new projects, and following creative rabbit holes wherever they may lead! I’m excited by life, making messes, and SO many hobbies. But when it comes time for practice – perfecting a recipe, improving upon technical details, crossing t’s and dotting i’s – I struggle.
It’s not that I don’t want my dishes to be flavored to perfection, my photographs to be well shot and lit, and my garden to be weed free – or at least a little less unruly. This list goes on, from accounting to yoga, kimchi, beer brewing, kombucha, quilting, learning Spanish, baking, dog training, drawing, running, and so many things in between. For a long time, I’ve avoided this part of myself, preferring to just float from one thing to the next and eventually cycling back around to different pursuits in turn. It helps that I have Jake around to really perfect things like tortillas, coffee, pretzels, and general baked goods that I couldn’t live without.
But recently, I’ve been reflecting on my ability to practice. To some degree, I’m trying to find peace with letting perfection go. I may never practice Spanish for more than one month each year. I might always quilt in January for two weeks and then resume quilting the following January (at an approximate rate of one quilt per decade).
But in other areas, my practice is coming into focus and showing itself where I wasn’t giving myself much faith. Last week I did my first headstand at the end of a yoga session – just days after I had been admitting to a yogi friend that even after years of yoga, I didn’t think I could ever do a headstand. I hadn’t planned on trying – I just decided to go for on a day where I was feeling particularly strong after some successful shoulder poses. The feeling of success was almost overwhelming – I was just so incredibly grateful that I am capable, after all! I so rarely have faith in myself and I’ve been hanging on to that moment of peace and acceptance, trying to carry it with me. Even if my practices aren’t perfect, every now and then, realizing a goal is still possible and beautiful!
And back to those revolutions of tasks creativity and pleasure – I am practicing being at peace with them, too. My rhubarb is a good example. I care for it little, but every year it comes back for its season a little stronger, a little brighter, and always delicious. I think about it from time to time in the summer, winter, and fall with a semi-regular watering and the occasional mulch. This early in the spring is its time to radiate big leafy greenery and those delicious tart stalks. Despite forgetting the rhubarb often in other times, after winter I am endlessly grateful that it faithfully returns. It’s my gateway to the rest of my garden work ahead, and the first homegrown treat that reminds me growing and eating food shepherded to harvest by my own hands is a really beautiful honor from the earth.
On the topic of spring delicacies, I had wanted to write you a recipe for this beautiful custard tart but it turns out I don’t have one. After I fretted over “what is the perfect tart crust??!?” Jake quietly made it – a buckwheat crust, no recipe. We added a couple eggs to some caramel we had in the fridge (recipe and origins forgotten many days ago) and added freshly cut rhubarb, tossed in sugar, on the top. I baked it at 350°F until it was set (blind baked crust, then about 40 minutes?) and let it cool. It was absolutely delicious, but there is no recipe – I’m practicing it.