Moon Cakes

Gratitude List:
1. Those UNICEF kids. I didn’t think I would have the energy to help them pull off a party tonight, but they came together and set up with a real will. What a terrific bunch of teenagers.
2. Flan. LaRice makes the best flan I have ever tasted.
3. A weekend to rest up.
4. Crows
5. Walt Whitman

May we walk in Beauty!

Moon Cakes

Rana the Baker needed an apprentice, and her niece Bilhah needed work that would keep her closer to her foster daughter instead of out in the fields and orchards. Bilhah took to her work like a wagon wheel to the rutted lanes of Low Street, steady and sure.  She often worked with baby Leeta tied onto her back with a long strip of cloth.

On days before the full moon, Rana’s shop was always full of customers, women requesting the round almond moon cakes that were one of the baker’s specialties. And on the days of Equinox and Solstice, and the corner days between them, Bilhah and her aunt could barely keep up with the demand for the tasty treats.

In this way, Bilhah was ushered into women’s society. She didn’t ask many questions, but she kept her eyes and ears open, and soon she had learned quite a bit about the rites and rituals of women, the keeping of time by the moon, the celebrations of the sun cycle, the moon cakes offered to the Queen of Heaven.

One early morning, carrying a squirming two-year-old Leeta on her back, Bilhah opened the bakery door to a wall of billowing smoke. Neighbors came running, and waded through the smoke to the kitchen where they found a batch of moon cakes burning in the oven. Rana had died of a sudden stroke mid-batch, and the cakes had burned.

Gormlek the Mourner himself took his sister to the houses of the dead, where he prepared her body for the cremation. Lawyers who opened her sealed testaments discovered that all her worldly possessions she had left to her niece Bilhah.  And so it was that Bilhah became Bilhah the Baker, and Leeta the Wolf-Child came to be raised in the company of women, with the exception of her doting and adored Babu Gormlek.

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