Care packages

What is it that gives people the gift of presentation? The dainty little packages of sweets that arrive from family – the way the cookies are wrapped and arranged in paper cups and tissue, full of fruit and crumbling butter and sugar, the way the bread and muffins hold together just right, topped with sugar that does not melt or become sticky and berries that hold together, saving their juice for the bite rather than leaking it out into the dough. It is more than flouring and sugaring, it is as though the ingredients know who is forming them and understands their responsibility to perform just so.

The birthday card constructed out of leftover mailbox letters and a paper bag, with a tiny line drawing that makes it suddenly, unexpectedly art. It is another kind of composition where mind and hand have instructed the materials perfectly.

Some of us can learn and copy the tricks, but imitation as flattery can only take us so far. Eventually we will be found out. When do we learn what we have inside ourselves that is organic, when do we know what we can do that is truly ours to give?

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