Get Thee to a Kitchen?

Today I reached for a recipe that begins, "In the case of unexpected company when you have no bread, it may be made quickly in the following way." It is in a curious book, with the mottoes: "Cook with love without slaving in the kitchen; use what you have as best you know how. In the kitchen of those who work as silently as possible, a better and happier life simmers."
Practical, modern advice or an adage invented by men of yesteryear, with no stomach for shrill, uneducated prattle? There are cultures even today with women who are long in the tongue and shorter in temper; defying feminism by never thinking to objectify themselves. This seems to contradict the latest media buzz about feminism. Truer answers may fall silent, looked for in the wrong places.
There is no silence if one doesn't know what one is doing. Silence seems to lay in the routine of applying appropriated skills; to learn the new thing quietly, it may be a game without all the scrambling or uncertainty - the jangling scaffolding of Before.
Silence is an art; it is not worrying over handicaps and believing that what one needs will come to one. It is the moment of inspiration when all the pain of recent jabbering suddenly fits into a far more optimistic puzzle: the hastily-composed email need not lead to an endless debate with oneself as to why one would persist in trying to write to people who live in muted silence or cliché, but suddenly transforms into a joke about shared humanity. To not speak at all yet to have baited company and to speak messily become the same. We may see our humanity, chuckle, and move on, now in silence, gently down the stream.
To think in words is the most terrible of tyrannies. Many scientists have written that but most were not trying to oppose their profession to Letters. Rather, words seem to lead to more words, and quickly, one drowns in the dictionary, coughing up the wrong expressions. I know this well! And I know better. But by then, it's too late. At such times, silence is overcome by ostensibly Pressing Matters (never pressing). So little that calls itself urgent actually is. Charades! Another form of tyranny.
Outside the parade of marching words is a calm, waiting for the right expression to appear from the woods. This connection with words is the virtuous kind, needing no apology from silence to save it later on. And this is why I thought of Ophelia when I read that in the silent kitchen simmers the happy life. "Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?" I might not recommend the nunnery (assuming one was meant), but I would prescribe silent time if not in the kitchen then in doing other nourishing work. It's that kind of time out that gives life a chance to be. Actions saved by silence.



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