Yeast, Fire, and Friends
Yeast and Warmth at the Bike Shop
A year ago I posted a little piece on my friend Ted, and our annual MS150 pilgrimage through northern Colorado together. You can read that post here. In it I tell the story of how he was in great shape, I wasn’t, and he made me suffer for it. The punch line is that he’s in his mid-70’s, has leukemia, and yet chased down every young lion who passed us.
A year has passed, and Ted has just gotten stronger. He seems to have found a new lease on life in his 75th year, continuing to battle the little inconveniences and other BS that the cancer drops in his life from time to time.
Allow me to digress slightly, and talk about bread. I make bread around our house. It’s nice sourdough bread, and a batch nets me several loaves, most of which go into the freezer. When they’re gone, I’ll get the yeast jar out of the fridge, and start the daily feeding of it until it’s robust and ready to bake bread. Getting it there takes several days, then back into the fridge the yeast starter goes, waiting for the next round to begin. The jar sits 20 feet from me as I type these words, and it will start a batch of bread tonight before being tucked away for a few weeks.
I suspect it’s that notion of the perpetual yeast that got me thinking this morning, as I lay awake in bed, about the notion of fire, and how our primitive ancestors would have nurtured and protected their “starter” for fire, as starting fire up anew would have been a pain, what with all the rubbing sticks together and all that.
And all those thoughts churned around and brought me back to Ted, and the notion of friends. Friendship really. And the idea of a little jar of “starter” that friends represent in our life. We don’t spend every day with them, but when we get together, the yeast of love and friendship blossoms into robust delight at the good feelings that being together brings to us.
Which brings me to the real thing I wanted to say. My buddy Dave and I had a fantastic ride yesterday morning. Lots of climbing, lots of miles, some good discussions, a granola bar and some oreo cookies shared. Then we hauled our bikes down to Creekside Bikes for their annual physicals, where we unexpectedly ran into Ted with his bike shop buddies as they had pizza after their Saturday morning ride.
As I sat there, seeing my best friend Ted surrounded by his bike shop buddies, looking over his shoulder at my other best friend Dave as he huddled with the mechanic to finalize the treatment plan for his steed, it struck me how lucky I am to have the yeast of these friendships in my life. Their friendship feeds my soul and warms my heart.
And I suppose that’s how those thoughts of perpetual fire and yeast jumbled around together in my tiny little brain as I lay awake this morning, reminding me again of just how intertwined we all are with one another. I leaned over and kissed Christine, who mumbled something incoherent but loving as she wrapped an arm around me. I heard her smile as I climbed out of bed, headed downstairs to check on my yeast starter, and do some writing.
Oh, back to the MS150. Once again, Ted punished me up the hills, and kept the pace higher than I liked. He didn’t chase down every young lion who passed us, only the ones that seemed to be going particularly fast.
When I grow up I want to be as fast as Ted…