We Are Still Here

I had planned a different topic to be the subject of my first post in this redesigned baking journal. That post is already uploaded as a draft and waiting for me to publish it. That’s going to have to take a back seat for now  because this thought came to my mind when I was working on something else: we’re still here.

I say we’re still here because this summer is very much like another summer in 1968, when there were assassinations, senseless deaths, protests for racial equality, riots, and a misguided call for law and order at the expense of actual justice. It all sounds so familiar to me. Over five decades of my life have passed and we’re still here in this place, demanding equal treatment under the law and a level playing field in American society. We’re still here in 1968, 1958, 1948, and beyond.We’re still here fighting for rights, respect, and racial equality against people whose very identity seems to hinge on restricting those things from us. They do everything in their power to hold us back and keep us down. They work exceptionally hard to maintain the status quo. This particular fight, it seems, never ends.

And yet we are still here. Still pushing. Still striving. Still succeeding.

Where am I in all of this? In my kitchen. Baking. It’s the middle of the summer and it’s hot not only outside but in the kitchen. I’m still here, moving dough, batter, and even sugar, into and out of that oven. Why? To what purpose do I wake early, bake early and bake late? What can I hope to accomplish in the midst of the utter chaos that is the summer of 2020?

This:

Before all of this started, we rarely spoke with our neighbors. We still speak sparingly (social distancing being what it is) but we now do so with a better understanding and affection we didn’t have before. We aren’t best of friends but we’re more than strangers now. We are connected. And being connected changes things, hopefully for the better.

We need more of "for the better" these days. There is a darkness that threatens to swallow our country whole, that threatens to drive us apart and isolate us from kindness and empathy. There are more people who don’t welcome that darkness than do but the latter is so much louder (and armed) than the former. Baking and sharing with those people – the people who want justice, peace, and uplifted communities ­– this is where I am. Right now? This is what I do. Right now? This is who I am.

I’m just a guy who bakes…just a guy who asks that if you’re reading this, please do what you can, when you can, to reach out to those near you. Try to do something to relieve even a little part of their burden. We will survive through those connections and paying forward those kindnesses.

Currently listening to: Aswad – Fire (Feat. Shabba Ranks) and
Marvin Gaye – Trouble Man

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Flossie Baker Gautier

    Carlton, love this and you too!

    1. Carlton Baker II

      Thank you, Auntie! This is all a labor of love and I’m glad it shows.

  2. Michele

    Oh, my gosh! This is so perfect, and perfectly you! Phoebe Gal Friday is a mad genius of web design, kudos Phoebe! And, I adore our Closet Door of Thanks, btw. That’s because of you. You created a change on our floor with your dough and batter and sugar. <3

    1. Carlton Baker II

      Isn’t she, though? I’m so happy I reached out to her for this redesign. My hope, love, is that whatever change has happened on our floor can ripple outward and create more change. Think globally. Act locally. ❤️

  3. Grace Vogelzang

    This article reminds me of the title of John Lewis’ book, “Walking With the Wind” and why it has that title. All I can say to you in the face of all this is that I will hold hands and walk with you. Always.

    1. Carlton Baker II

      Thank you, Grace. Hand-in-hand. Always.

  4. Phoebe Berg

    This is a beautiful post. Your love of baking is spreading love in the world. Thank you 🙂

    1. Carlton Baker II

      Thank you, Phoebe! And thank you again for all the wonderful work you’ve done to bring this new version of my Baking Journal to life! You are aces, darlin’!

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