I have written and sung and emphatically pounded the table while speaking those three words over the past few days.
It's not perfect, this jam of mine. Floating on peach-rosemary fumes, my nose couldn't criticize what my mouth later would: too much sugar, not quite the right amount of pectin. Pectin, the ingredient that brings fruit from a liquid state to a more solid state, was temperamental, clumping itself together before I expected it to. Or maybe because I hadn't read the instructions for dry pectin as opposed to liquid pectin, that was, in some sense, responsible for the minor texture imbalance. The sugar content, sworn up and down as correct on three recipes, was a little too sweet for my taste, the rosemary a little too strong.
But somehow, the imperfectness of my creation doesn't matter in the overall picture. In life, oftentimes, I wish I could just fast forward to the end result without the tediousness of the steady path: couldn't I just have a higher salary, a nicer house, a better brain, a healthier body, a villa in the south of France, and skip the grunt work?
In the act of concocting food, though, I find myself taking time to revel in the boiling fruit bits. Watching the peaches go from whole fruit to simmering, succulent stew, I kept skipping around the kitchen, bearing witness to my creation as it perfumed the apartment. Time slowed down as the fruit cooked, and I felt myself breathing slowly and fully, joyfully, even, as I watched the pot.
I think I'm a little surprised, too, by the depth of my happiness at creation. I can't stop smiling, and my jam, while admittedly not perfect, tastes so sweet not only because of its sugar content, but because of the entire creative process. The success of creation is sometimes in the process itself, more so than in the result.