No wind, no sound

Maybe this will fall into the "back in my day we made mud pies with mud and we were happy to have that" category for some of you, but I found it at the library and I think it's really cute. It's a little book called Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls by Marjorie Winslow, illustrated by Erik Blegvad 

Plus it was originally published in 1961, so even back in the actual day when most people slapped some stagnant water on a handful of dirt and called it a banquet, there were girls (and, I hope, boys) plucking dandelion lollipops tossing leaf salads for their dolls.

In the foreword the author gives some general guidance for getting started: 

"You can use a tree stump for a counter. The sea makes a nice sink; so does a puddle at the end of a hose. For a stove there is the sun, or a flat stone. And ovens are everywhere. You'll find them under bushes, in sandboxes, or behind trees."

So basically, you can start anywhere, with almost anything you find - bark, pine needles, rain, or seaweed. No batteries required! 

I wrote the above earlier today - before I dashed out the door to pick up Wally. Early afternoon, hot sun, long afternoon stretching ahead of us. At that moment nature seemed serene and inviting. I was thinking back to a few weeks ago when my nieces and I made tons of mud pie "burgers" with sand at a local playground and set them out to dry in the sun. It was so much fun, coming up with all different kinds of burgers to pretend that we made -- can't leave out vegan and, on the other end of the scale, cheeseburgers. 

Now there's a severe storm coming this way -- and a possible tornado watch (or is it a tornado watch with a possible tornado?). The rain has just begun. It will be coming down in sheets soon and the thunder will maybe wake Wally. Alex is on a neighbor's balcony. They should probably come inside. I don't feel the same kind of excitement that I did with storms as a child, and not because the spectacle appears any less spectacular. It's the other way around. Except for flat-earthers, who interpret them as either benign or a welcome sign of apocalypse, thunderstorms don't feel quite right anymore. They are foreboding, potentially grave.  

This is a very different kind of nature show from the image I carried with me this afternoon of sun filtering through summer trees, onto dry pine needles, being crunched up to add to afternoon tea for dolls. 

I can't help but think of that line from Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.

"How do our lives ravel out into the no-wind, no-sound, the weary gestures wearily recapitulant: echoes of old compulsions with no-hand on no-string: in sunset we fall into furious attitudes, dead gestures of dolls.”


  1. I did this stuff as a kid, but the benefit of being an older sister is that I got to feed my treasures to my younger sister (e.g. a flower soup made in a bird bath).


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