Spring Break challenge

Finding multi-sensory beauty

A girl eats bread and jam
Enjoying a slide of homemade bread, an example of the kind of multi-sensory beauty we can appreciate every day. This Upper Elementary student practiced life skills last week when she baked bread and made apple tea.

By Lower Elementary teacher Amy Fujimoto

The smell of yeast and warm milk mixed with sugar instantly transforms me into an 8-year-old bursting through the door as I came home from school. The fragrance was a signal that my mom was making a special treat, povatica! Povatica is a type of bread that came from my grandfather’s family in Yugoslavia. The bread is a little sweet with layers of sugar, raisins and nuts. Along with the smells I had the tactile experience of kneading the dough and watching the dough double in size with each rising time. Finally the dough is spread out like a giant pizza. This is why in my family we would jokingly call it “povapizza.” The enormous circle of dough is layered with the raisins and nuts. While I have made this bread for many years as an adult, I can still picture the steps in my mind both watching my mom and participating in various steps. Every sense was engaged, the smell, the feel of the dough, the sound and rhythm as the dough is kneaded, the image of the giant circle sprinkled with nuts and raisins before it is rolled up, and of course, the best part, the taste! It is wondrous to me that the making of a single loaf of bread can both engage all our senses and be beautiful all at once.

Shaun McNiff is an Expressive Art Therapist and author who said, “Perceiving beauty in a particular thing brings an overall sense of renewal, wonder and passion, all of which generate life-affirming energy.” Over this Spring Break I am challenging myself to find multi-sensory beauty in many ways. It is almost as if I am creating a “beauty challenge” with my senses. What do I smell, hear, touch, taste and see that are beautiful to me? I imagine a beauty multimedia collage that encompasses all these items. Perhaps my Spring Break mantra is to find beauty, every day, in every way.