Thursday, December 20, 2012

Communion at the solstice

The sun stands still for an instant just a few hours from now, and will start its trip back north. We are all children of the light.

I ate a basil leaf in class today, grown from a flower fertilized by bee that stole a sip of nectar back in August. A child in class separated the seed from the dried flower head in October, and planted it.

The past two months the basil germinated, grew a pair of leaves, then another, then yet another, weaving together the carbon dioxide molecules floating around the room, pieces of this child's breakfast or that child's heart.

Transubstantiation, the miraculous changing of the Host into the flesh of God, has all the fancy accoutrements one would expect for theses kinds of things, but after all the noise, the Host still tastes like, well, a wafer.

Through several Sundays of Masses, the tiny basil seed grew, taking in the carbon dioxide of the breath of my lambs in class, an odorless gas, and weaved it with broken water molecules, creating the stuff of life, a basil plant, and today we took Communion.

No one believes this, of course, because it is simply too much to belief--but it's true and requires not a lick of faith.

The plants in our room are, literally, from the breath of those who live here--and at least a few of the carbon dioxide molecules captured were released when someone's brain in class tried to grasp the concept of photosynthesis.

And it was good.

And you're allowed to gnaw on basil....


Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

That last idea alone is worth the price of admission: having kids see in the basil plant carbon that they produced to pay the energy cost to think (and "live and move and have their being"). I'm gonna plant me one right now!

Kathryn J said...

Love this post! Maybe that is why I always celebrate the winter solstice with pesto lazagna. I just think of it as celebrating the summer garden but I will now think of it as communion.

doyle said...

Dear Jeffrey,

Basil plants are remarkably good for this sort of thing--they take "forever" to germinate and get past seedling stage, then when a child is not looking, surge into a reasonably decent sized plant.

The aroma (as you know) from a brush basil plant seems to charm the children I know it charms me.

Dear Kathryn,

I think our saved summer pesto is the last thing keeping me sane through these dark days. I can only imagine how delicious your solstice meal must be--how do you make it?