Heaping spoonfuls.

My homemade mashed potatoes are pretty excellent.

Sometimes they’re fairly virginal, with just a little butter, a splash of whole milk, some salt and pepper.

Other times I’ll bust out the sour cream. Or the blue cheese crumbles. Maybe even a little bit of crushed garlic. Perhaps some asiago cheese. Or fontina. Or maybe even some of that cheese-in-a-tub fluff, also known as Rondele or Alouette. Fresh herbs can be a tasty addition. And don’t even get me started down the bacon path.

Whether you make your own or you go the instant route, you know that moment when you’re scooping heaping spoonful after heaping spoonful into a separate serving dish? There’s that dense, delicious near-thud of a sound as they fall into their new — albeit temporary — home, and you can’t wait to dive in. The steam is rising, there’s still a good amount of texture to them, and you see flecks of goodness dotting the rolling, white landscape.

Anyway, I don’t know how else to say it, except to say that I’ve felt rather “off” for a few weeks. I feel like I was standing in the middle of that empty dish and someone started spooning mashed matter on top of me. Of course, after that first spoonful, I’m flattened like a pancake under the weight, and all I can do is bear the pressure of spoonful after spoonful.

The weight is akin to a sort of darkness, or sorrow, in a way. Again, can’t really describe it, and mashed potatoes seem to make light of it. Then again, perhaps it’s not so off-base, after all.

It’s been said that we should bear and endure the tough times that come upon us, because the sorrow will one day prove to be for our own good. Seems like that’s the last thing you’d want to hear at the time, but if there’s something good in it, something that can ultimately bolster us, better us or make us more complete, more in tune or more aware, then I am thankful for the time-consuming trials and the sorrow — particularly if there’s a delicious outcome on the horizon.

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