Maybe I'm not the most confident or experienced baker; maybe I am either an optimist or a pessimist; but I do find myself thinking, whenever I catch that moment -- wow! They're doing it! How do they know -- not just HOW to rise, but that they SHOULD RISE?
I'm not ascribing intelligence to my muffins, though they are some pretty smart looking muffins.
(Muffins is such an excellent word.)
I know that they rise not because of any decision to rise but because of what they are made of, the interaction of the ingredients, after the stirring and mixing and measuring I did just a few minutes ago. They have no choice, those muffins. Even still, catching them in the act feels like witnessing something magic.
Same with catching a glimpse of my kids, some days lately:
If I stay still and keep watching, they are growing right there in front of me.
And, of course, I must remind myself -- they have no choice; I have no choice -- it is what they're made of. There's a natural chemical thing going on, but there's also a lot of stirring that went into it...