One of my main reasons for caring what happens to this poor old world is sitting at the table and one of the other main reasons is taking the picture of us.
Most of us have people in our lives like my daughter and granddaughter that we love enough to sacrifice a great deal for. Yet most of us thunder on doing things that we already know will make their future more difficult… and I’m talking about little things… using plastics, for example.
“WHOA!” You protest. “Using plastics is no little matter! I use plastic a hundred times a day. Maybe more. Plastics are absolutely necessary.”
That has become true. One little plastic lid. One little plastic wrapper. One more little plastic wrapper. Plastic sunglasses. Plastic bags. Spiffy plastic shoes. Eat with a little plastic spoon. Line your food cans with known carcinogenic plastic. It’s in your bedsheets and your toilet seats…. . I think it’s safe to say that if you are an average urban or suburban American, you are ALWAYS in physical contact with plastic. Yes, even when you’re naked. It is everywhere. The air is full of it. With millions and millions of plastic tarps, curtains, banners signs etc flapping in the wind, It is quite reasonable to assume it gets into us.
Think about that for a minute. I’m only 80. When I was a boy there was no consumer plastic at all. No plastic bags. No plastic cars. No plastic guns. No fracking. No Island of plastic trash in the middle of the ocean… I could go on all day.
And cancer was rare.
I’m going to repeat that. Cancer was rare.
And caring for each other was different… Being a person was different. In terms of foodstuffs, for example. People are grown mostly on corn these days. Did you know that? There’s a documentary movie called “King Korn”. There’s corn in everything you eat. That was definitely not true here when I was a boy. Packaged foods were way less prominent in our diets and way less processed and they were neither grown nor delivered as they are today.
Here’s a little exercise in natural philosophy… You can falsify or lend credence to what I’m about to suggest. I suggest that packaged foods make up most of most people’s diets. I further suggest that corn is an ingredient in some form in most packaged food. Stand in the supermarket for a busy hour and watch and list what gets bought. Then go read the labels and do the simple math.
There’s not a lot of life in that stuff. Life eats life to thrive.
We can feed each other
Food needs to be full of life to give the power to flourish. You can, to a degree and for a time, maintain your body as a bioelectric gadget on crap food, but your spirit needs life.
I happily recall to this day, a half century after the fact, the simple meals we shared at Rocky Creek in Big Sur of shellfish, wild greens and berries gathered with our own hands; our toes curled into the wet sand and Qi or Prana or the Electric Field, call it what you will, pouring into us as we tumbled mussels or abalone into our bucket of just plucked New Zealand spinach and sorrel, and half an hour later sat down to a sweet and nourishing meal gleaming with energy… us and the food… gleaming with energy. A pot of rice and greens. Ambrosias of sea and kitchen in the air. Somebody playing sweet guitars while the table was set and the sun slowly slipped away beyond the blue…
The whole thing was food. The music. The simple clay dishes on the calico tablecloth. The walk down from the cabin through the rich and fragrant mint along the tumbling creek, past the Esselen Indian middens, with bits of abalone shell hundreds of years old still shining in the black loam… It’s all food. You ingest it with your eyes, your nose, your bare feet. What you see. What you think while you gather the food. What you contribute to the dinner or the clean up or the music… Its all food. Its all caring…
Who takes time to live like that ?
(You notice that in that whole little storyette I just told you, plastic was not a key character. Neither were electronic devices… )
So we can nourish each other. Harder to do when everybody has their face and hands glued to a little electronic window holding them like a magnet to a physically isolated state of being. Hard to feed. There has to be some eye contact. Some reflection time. Some nature, touching us, singing to us, nourishing us… Some connection to something other than these little electronic leashes tethering us to the lie…
How about I make you a gumbo? Or sweet Basque pimenton stuffed with lamb and pine nuts spiced with fresh ground Baharat and fresh herbs? My lovely wife will perhaps make us custard for dessert with fresh, clean raw milk from just over the hill and eggs so rich that their orange yolks deeply color the custard.
Please leave your electronic appendages in your car when you come to dinner. But please come… Let’s care for one another. I’ll cook for you and you can give me a story from your heart… Then I’ll do it with somebody else and you do it with somebody else…
So, why to care is self-evident. Why we don’t, still a mystery. What can we do about it? Be nice to each other until we figure it out. The minute everybody is simply nice to each other, the hatred is over. We can then focus on mutual thriving instead of wasting our energy fighting each other. Impossible? Probably, but why not reach for it?
Let me close with this
Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Be nice to each other. (Basic Christianity, as taught circa 1940s) to which I add, open your eyes. Open your heart. Gather your own evidence. Carry no gossip and bear witness to truth… kindly.