Saturday, February 9, 2013

Practicing This Primal Alchemy

 MFK Fisher said, "It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and intertwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the other."

Well, at least I am not alone. My relatively new family has heightened these universal yearnings and they are all jumbled to distraction for me. In fleeting moments of clarity, usually while doing something mundane and rhythmic, like chopping onions or stirring a soup, I can see the order of it all:

food + security + love = meals

Meals as intimacy. Meals as reassurance. Meals as comfort. Meals as expression. Meals as communion. Meals as love.

Now, meals are not food. And meals are not love. Meals are not security. Meals are the place where all three of these things meet. And every night, I dice and stir and sweat over the stove, practicing this primal alchemy, pursuing happiness, meeting spiritual needs through the physical.

And after the meal, when our bodies are satisfied and the remembrance of all the little things lacking creep in with the grumbles of the hungers of other needs, the roof that may need repair or that bill left unpaid, it is easy to imagine that the magic has slipped away. But no, the beauty of meals is that they are inbibed. They literally become a part of you. You are reassured. You are comforted. You are loved.

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