The Pavlova Morning (a sample)

The holidays brought festivities warm and bright as fire in the hearth; then New Year sparkled and we kissed, and clinked, and sang at the top of our lungs. We danced. Then I returned home and while my far-away colleagues got busy with their new beginnings, goals, and bullet planners, penning long lists in bright turquoise, lavender, and apple green markers, setting in motion performance at high speed, I faltered. I’d recently left a career to start another—this one solo, and it wasn’t going as I’d anticipated.

Cold smoke, the fine dry snow in the Rockies blew in with Montana’s February… fine dust drifting like sand dunes, sculpting a crust of ice crystals which then shift and hollow out, creating a tutu’s lace edges, lifting with the direction of the wind, pirouetting in a strange and silent dance. 

The dark quiet is shattered when the coffee grinder whirs beans, but the aroma is pungent and delicious and soon I believe again that any day—even in its predawn—is worth living. I kneel in front of the woodstove to stoke the fire and blow on its fingers and woo it into a bright companionable flame, while behind me Light—pale as buttermilk—slips into the valley.

My back is to the windows. I stretch my limbs and turn round to warm my backside. And then I see it, displayed in full splendor just on the other side of the French doors, now a pastry case, sugared mountain vistas like beautiful Pavlovas –meringue cakes with crispy crust and soft, light fillings, topped with fruit and whipped cream, aptly named after the iconic Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova.