Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gingerbread Mandala

Every December, I make a gingerbread house. I scrounge for the oldest ingredients in the cupboard (since I know the thing will not be eaten) and make the dough. After the dough is mixed, it must be refrigerated. After that, I bake the parts of the house which must dry overnight before construction. The next day comes royal icing making and the laborious process of holding the parts together as they dry. The pastry bags spring leaks and we (my kid assistant and I) end up sticking to the kitchen floor when we walk. When the house is complete, we mount it on cardboard and make a candy garden. We are so pleased with ourselves when it is done that we don't mind scrubbing down our sugary kitchen!

Six weeks later, the tree has been taken down. Nothing of the holidays remains except a shedding poinsettia and the gingerbread house. It's so hard to let it go. So much work! And it has given us pleasure appropriate to the season. But now?

I thought about those sand mandalas made by Buddhist monks--the ones that can take years to complete--and how they blow the sand away as part of the ritual when the work is completed. We're both quiet as my kid assistant stands poised over the little house with a hammer. Miraculously, the house resists the first blow! (That's how old and hard it is.) She tries again, and voila! Down it goes, shattering into pieces. We both manage to laugh. It was actually kind of fun.

Time changes. We move on.

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