I spilled the brown mustard seeds. They are tiny, brown, perfectly round. The lid was not closed tight. The bottle fell from the open cabinet and the mustards seeds leapt and scattered in droves. They vibrate as they roll as if being held together by static even as they are being driven by the kinetic energy of the fall. They are free, but together. They find corners to hide in, clumped together in dozens.
I use them to cook with at least once a week. I toss a teaspoon’s worth into oil with some other spices. As the oil heats up, they sputter, crackle, and pop. The fragrance and flavor seep into the oil. I pour the seasoned oil into whatever meal I am cooking that evening. The mustard seeds, tiny, brown, round, have seasoned the meal and also are themselves still present, still feel round in my mouth if I think about them. I usually do not think about them though. They become one with the dish.
Now, I am overwhelmed by their numbers. I am fascinated by their desire to stick together. I am annoyed by their tendency to find the most inconvenient place to roll under. I cannot clean them all up. Though I gather hundreds in a small plate and send them to the trash, so many more remain, silent but present. A few refuse to move when I sweep them up with a paper towel. I give up and walk away from the counter. There are other things to tend to. I will have to tackle the mustard seeds another day.