The thing about making jelly is
It’s a risky thing.
The experience is unpredictable.
One minute you have a spoon in your hand
Stirring the sticky liquid in the pot
Staring at the smooth surface
Wondering when it will gel
Without warning, you find yourself
Thinking about your worries
Worrying about your thoughts
Forgetting the jelly
Frothing to the rim of the pot
Gathering strength and density
Liquid thoughts like a substance
Which may or may not gel
Next, you’re in a meditation room
Listening to a voice say:
Don’t analyze your thoughts
Let them go. Let them pass
Thoughts are thoughts, not facts
Do not stop to judge them
Or be worried by them
Let them float out of your mind
If your back or arm aches
Or someone has hurt you
Don’t dwell on those thoughts
Let them pass, and float away
I return to the liquid on the stove
Just before the jelly boils over
Because making jelly requires this much:
My total attention.
Making jelly is a meditation
On the liquid in the pot, swirling
As my thoughts darken and thicken
And bubble and froth their way to the top
Did I say thoughts? I meant jelly
But maybe I meant thoughts
Thoughts are not facts! the jelly says
Let them go while you stay here
Watch me boil and swirl and stir, and boil
And swirl and swell, making bubbles.
You are here, the jelly says
So be here. Be present with me
So you stir and watch and wait
For that final moment
When the liquid becomes
That thick, sweet, slow-moving gel.
The thing about making jelly is
It’s a strange thing
The journey is unpredictable.
PHOTOS BY HAMLIN GRANGE
25 thoughts on “The Unpredictable Jelly”
There is much more than jelly making in your words, Cynthia. Thank you for these thoughts. I also enjoyed Hamlin’s photo documentation of the process. 🙂
Wishing you and your family a happy spring, and successful jelly making! ❤️
This is a lovely poem, Cynthia. Very clever and though provoking.
There is a lot to think about. What kind of jelly did you make?
Red currant – from our garden.
Just like life. That jelly sure is lovely.
Ooohh…love this Cynthia!
That’s a lot of jelly. Great poem
It looks like a success! Hopefully, your untamed thoughts didn’t interfere too much Cynthia. 🙂
I love your use of extended metaphor in this poem! Words to live by, for sure.
It looks delicious. 🙂 Red currents?
Hello Cynthia. I like the idea of jelly-making as meditation – in fact this poem is itself a form of meditation: quiet, contemplative, soothing.
I love the idea of making jelly as a meditation. And either way, our life becomes sweeter when we tune in and let go.
Hi, Cynthia! 😄
Definitely an unpredictable journey with jelly.
Something I learned recently is that a memory is only what you remember from the last time the memory was retrieved, so basically we can all manipulate our thoughts to create a different reality. Helpful to know but also scary to think what some people can forgive in themselves with such tricks of the mind.
I needed to read this today. Thanks for reminding me to be mindful!
Oh, this brings back happy memories of my mom making raspberry jam! Looks delicious, Cynthia!
That is wonderful and thought provoking, Cynthia. I am a freezer girl. it is not nearly as poetic as jelly making.
What a great journey of jelly, Cynthia! Thank you for the photos and process. I made plum jelly last year with a similar process. I don’t have too many plums this year. I probably just eat them.
What a super post Cynthia! How I enjoyed it … And I love making jelly! 😊
Great to hear from you, dear Julie! And I know about the jams and jellies that you and your father in
law make. Will be be coming back this year?
Hello lovely Bill didn’t make it over this year.. but I have my fingers crossed for next summer .. hugs
Oh, Wow! So much wisdom packed in these jelly jars. I can totally imagine making jelly a meditation. I felt the calm as I read through the poem. A beautiful write, Cynthia. Thank you!
When you realize your mind has wandered, without judgement, gently bring yourself back to this moment. Beautiful jelly.
Hope it was delicious! I made freezer jam with some raspberries from last year, and it came out pretty darn good too.