I awoke at 3:30 am. After seeing the clock turn to 5:30 am I decided to get up and go about my business like a normal day. A normal bakery work day. So I started making doughnut dough. I poured each ingredient into the bowl, then added the dough hook to my mixer and watched as the dough took its turns round and round.

It’s the part I do not get to see. Usually I move onto muffins, instead, today I watched the sticky dough rotate.

On days like today with lack of sleep, the sun hiding, and life hanging in flux the doughnut seemed like a tiny matchstick lit in a dark room. I expected that for a tiny moment in time, as Marie Konda would say, it would spark joy.

The doughnut has been doing this since World War One when the Salvation Army began frying them to bring comfort to soldiers.

Could it bring me a tiny comfort on a dark day?

I suspect my childhood wired me this way… to seek out doughnuts to cue happiness.

As a child I had an Emily’s bakery doughnut addiction. After begging a parent (or perhaps both), someone might bring them home in a brown bag or box with twine to hold it together, either way patches of dark brown grease would be winding its way around the package.

Inside I would seek out a glazed doughnut, a dark brown, crunchy on the outside, heavenly inside, and with enough glaze that it would shingle into piles when held and then flake into my lap and shirt, a sugary snowfall. My fingers would be a sticky mass. Between my thumb and pointer finger the dough would be completely mashed as I held it fast while consuming the rest.

Best eaten outside, the Emily’s doughnut started off many a summer day in pure joy…

My doughnut this morning did not create the child-like thrall of the Emily’s doughnut.

It brought a moment of normal.

I listened to the whir of the mixer.

I watched the dough rise.

I washed my hands.

I ate my spark of joy – dough dipped in butter and cinnamon and sugar.

I washed my hands again.

More sparks of spring joy

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