It is Sunday and for the past week I’ve been observing my pot of cooked rice.
“Why?” you might ask. Well, it came about because of a poem.
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.
So recently, I’ve been paying attention to how life — as exemplified by the slow dissolution of rice — is nothing more than one grand circuitous digestive factory and how wonderful it is that I have been honoured to be a participant in its well oiled functioning.
Look at how the rice transforms itself into a new way of being. White stringy tendrils more complicated and more intricate than all the interconnections of the internet are working their micro magic to take “waste” and transform it into food for “their” survival which ultimately means “our” survival.
Yes, those white strings and tiny black bits enveloping the rice are a form of fungus or bacteria that might appear, at first glance, a bit yucky. But by paying attention, one’s squeamishness turns into astonishment. Everyday we should be marveling at the exquisite mystery and exquisite beauty of every facet (every grain) of life.
It is not blasphemy to speak of the sacredness of what rots because ultimately what rots is food for another’s life. Recent studies have shown that when bears eat salmon what they poo out is vital for the whole forest ecosystem: no fish means no fertilizer and essential nutriments for the trees; without the breakdown of poo by microbes, the system collapses.
My lemon and lime trees receive a daily urinary blessing. For all his wise words, for all his thirty-three years, even Jesus would daily squat, shit and wipe his butt; a necessary ritual in the continuation of life. Or, stand next to his donkey on the side of a dusty road and pee out what was “waste” to him but nourishment to something else.
Shall I tell you what praying is? It is nothing more than giving thanks that we each are alive today, right now. It is gratitude swelling our voice in song for being our animal selves at this time on this earth with our warming sun floating majestically in the spinning of our Milky Way galaxy, while all the while, mitochondria and photosynthesis, bacteria and fungi power us along.