23 December 2018

Ceres and Poseidon: A Christmas Homily

On an afternoon of clear tranquility I sat by the windows to meditate on an ocean of jade-tinged iron. Through the panes streamed December sunlight, painting the cottage walls the color of a well-worn wedding band. A week of rain and wind had finally departed. Beach and boulders along the headland shone in ecstasy of greeting the sun. Peat smoldered on the hearth, filling the cottage with warmth and the soul with gratitude. Salt air filled the lungs on each slow breath. My empty belly growled as it dreamt of stout and oysters.

This hunger dream manifested itself in the flesh as a Christmas wish possessing an elegant simplicity. It is not greed, it is not selfishness, it is not gluttony. It is appetites to be satisfied by simple means, the result of harvest and craft. Hearing the growls, I wondered how far that simplicity could be extended into a life infused with meaning. Et comedent, ergo sum: “I eat, therefore I am”, is that valid meaning? It seems simple enough.

Hunger drives us all, almost strident in its voice when the days are on the cusp of winter. Cold twilight days combine with erstwhile Christmas spirit to amplify the pressure to desire more, want more, need more. The prevailing social matrix would have you believe that more, even excess, is the cure for hunger. Reductionism to the point where what you consume is made less important than continued consumption itself. Quantity over quality. More over enough, stupefaction over engagement.

The sea continued its stirring. Waves upon the sand brought me to stillness, their susurrus an irresistible entreaty to cease thinking, cease worrying, and be in this moment. I acquiesced.

Brothers and sisters and fellow humans, my belly dreamt of stout and oysters, avatars of the creative expression of field and sea. Each a simple want to be savored in its having, preferably in the company of love. In the quiet of the day, this moment of repose becomes the season of peace and contentment.

Laugh with a full belly. Love with full heart. May you too find your stout and oysters. Merry Christmas to all.

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"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...