I'm attracted to superstition, but I'm not superstitious, except perhaps when it comes to natural processes. It doesn't seem to me to be black magic to feel that if the rivers are flowing and the clouds are blowing and the trees are growing as they should, then there is room for optimism. This is the source of the solace I take from the natural world, from wild places. The tide has gone out, but it will come in again.
So I took it as an auspicious auguring that the loaves of bread I baked as my contribution to a New Year's eve dinner last night were, if I say so myself, magnificent. The dough behaved as I expected it to, it swelled and rose in accordance with my understanding of the natural cycle of fermentation, understanding gained after significant effort and observation and much poking and prodding of moist compilations of flour and water. This is a blow-hardian way of saying that my sourdough starter is kicking ass right now.
It has been months since I used commercial yeast. I have no use for the stuff. An untouched jar of it sits in the fridge in the ghetto of mouldering condiments. This bread is made from water, flour and salt, one less ingredient than the Germans allow in their beer. Unless you count life itself as an ingredient, the wild, living yeasts of the air, which find their way into the starter to feed and multiply and expand. When they are doing their job this well, it is hard not to take it as a sign that it will be a glorious 2012!