Since quarantine, I pull my sourdough starter out of the fridge each Thursday morning and then set it on the counter. It lies there idle. Flat.

There is no sound. It’s dead. I feed it: flour and water. Slowly, it begins to spring up. I hear the bubbles buzz and hum. I see the mass of goop rise.

I add the starter to water, flour and salt. It is a sticky substance; an amorphous blob. I leave it alone. I give it time. It begins to rise. It is synthesizing.

I pull it. This way; that way. It rises. A steady transformation. I pull it. This way; that way. I roll it. Emerging is a beautiful shapely dough. There is a new form and consistency that each time astounds me.

Each time. Each week.

Is it a cliché to say that like the starter I rise? I shrink. I bubble. I deconstruct. I reconstruct. Or is it insightful?

Amid pandemic-like conditions, right before the last of the 10 plagues in ancient Egypt, G‑d pauses the narrative to inform Moses of time. Moses learns that the first mitzvah is to count the Jewish months according to the moon’s cycle. Latent in our nationhood is this idea of waxing and waning. Rising and falling.

The moon teaches us about the passage of time:

Just when the moon’s light diminishes so that even the tiniest sliver of light seems to disappear, when life feels flat and dark, lifeless and even deathly, there is rebirth. There is a steady rising—a transformation.

Eventually, there is a robust and full circular moon, glowing.

In my kitchen, I ponder my life in real-time. Does the moon’s concealment have to be perceived as negative? What if my inactive sourdough starter also tells me something about the rebirth?

I remember that there is another message about the moon. I remember. Iam like the moon.

I wax; I am busy, I produce and get things done. I am accomplished.

And then, inevitably, I wane. I need a minute. Or a day. Or longer. My contracting is purposeful.

As the moon, sometimes I am a human doing, and sometimes I am nothing more than a human—being.

Each phase is expected—necessary, even. Having the courage to experience the inherent energy shifts of the active and the stillness is how you feel alive.

Making sourdough bread during a pandemic might be basic. Knowing that our lives mirror the cycle of the moon might be basic, too.

Is it a cliché? It is life.