The succinct summary:
Clean the toaster's crumb tray. Pour some flavour oil, extract, or essence onto it. Slide it back in. Cook your toast. Enjoy your delicately scented toast.
The superfluous scene-setting stuff:
The visitor had come from afar. He had heard rumours of this ritual for many
years, and now, at last, he was to observe it in action.
The monk sat still for a moment, composing himself for the task, and allowing the day to whisper to him. A fine spring day, with a balmy warmth that carried the promise of the approaching summer. There was a faint breeze, gently ruffling the blossoms of the cherry tree. It was a day for Vogel's Sunflower and Poppy Seed Wholegrain Bread.
The monk gracefully removed the clip from the bag, and took two slices. He held them in his palms, gazing not just at their surfaces, but into their souls. The visitor, watching the monk as he stood in contemplation, felt the moment when insight struck. Though there was no outward change in the monk's posture, there was a sudden energy in the air. He knew the monk had found the answer to the question: what oil to use? Which was the scent that would dance with this bread like a lover, entwining its aroma into its very being?
The monk reverently placed the bread onto two pure white, bone china plates. He now began the main part of the ceremony. Sliding the crumb tray smoothly out from the toaster, he polished it with quick, precise strokes, as he had done thousands of times before. A beam of sunlight reflected from the polished surface, its light scattering onto the floor of the pagoda.
Now placing the tray onto the table, in precise alignment with the toaster and plates, the monk took and uncapped one of the small bottles that lined the far side of the table. He tilted it over the tray, listening to the sound each drop made as it landed.
After pouring a few drops, he returned that bottle to its place and selected another. This one he allowed to flow a little more freely, the two grooves in the tray becoming wetter. A very few drops from a third bottle, and he was satisfied. Holding the tray with calm focus, he slid it back inside the toaster, and then placed the slices of bread into the toaster. The springs of the toaster were well-oiled, and did not make a sound as the bread sunk into place.
The visitor expected that the monk would relax when he had pressed the switch down, his job done. However, the monk remained standing by the toaster, his eyes closed, allowing himself to become fully in tune with his sense of smell.
Within a couple of minutes, the visitor smelled the fragrance of the oils as they heated. Coconut flavouring, with a small splash of sweet orange oil and - was it? - yes, a couple of drops of peppermint essence. Their warm perfume wafted through the air.
The monk stayed still, poised, listening to the scent. Listening to the voice of the toast. Listening for that perfect moment within the moment, the time when the crunchy, smokey smell of the toast raised its voice to sing in harmony with the oils, without yet overpowering them. He did not need to think, to judge when that moment was reached. He allowed himself to become one with the toast, and he knew.
Pressing the button to pop the toast up, he performed the final movements of the ceremony with swift, flowing grace. Placing the toast onto the plates. Spreading just a touch of margarine onto the slices, their warm moistness complementing their delicate aroma. Taking one of the plates, the monk turned to the visitor, bowing as he placed the plate on the visitor's lap. He bowed out of respect not just for the visitor, but also for the toast.
Bowing now to the toaster, he took the second plate, and seated himself facing the visitor, legs folding beneath him. The visitor saw the serenity in the monk's gaze, as the monk lifted his slice of toast to his mouth, letting his nose assure him of what he already knew - that the toast, the moment, was right.
The visitor did likewise, inhaling and gasping softly with amazement as the flavours reached his nose. He had no words to describe such perfection. He looked across at the monk in awe, but saw no pride in the monk's gaze, no ego, only a warm smile. The visitor smiled back, and they took their first bites.