A Good Home

The Unpredictable Jelly

The thing about making jelly is

It’s a risky thing.

The experience is unpredictable.

Blog Photo - Jelly Currants in Pot

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

Blog Photo - Jelly in Pot

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

Blog Photo - Jelly Jar Double Mint

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.

Blog Photo - Jelly pouring into jars

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

Blog Photo - Jelly Jars many

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.

Blog - Red Current Jelly in Jars

The thing about making jelly is

It’s a strange thing

The journey is unpredictable.



25 thoughts on “The Unpredictable Jelly”

  1. 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! ❤️

  2. Hello Cynthia. I like the idea of jelly-making as meditation – in fact this poem is itself a form of meditation: quiet, contemplative, soothing.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

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