Saturday, December 19, 2015

Photosynthesis in December

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.

--John Keats 

The shadows are as long as they will get in these parts, and will stay with us for a few more days. Our shadows trail us like stretched cartoon monsters chasing us over browned grass and fallen leaves.

Too little sun left now to put back together the stuff we break, complex molecules put together by plants in brighter times. Every moment we live we create chaos out of order, our bodies hanging on by the grace of entropy, freeing the energy of sunlight trapped by the plants now waiting for the return of spring.

Our lives depend on this instability--large, unstable molecules masquerading as a grilled cheese sandwich, a pint of ale, a bowl of cereal literally shredded apart in our cells and tossed out of our bodies with every breath.

Puff on your palm--the moisture and the exhaled gases were part of the bread you ate less than a day ago, the heat the energy of transformed sunlight captured in July by a wheat berry in Kansas. This is the material, real world, the stuff in us, of us. This is not metaphorical.

There is no global economy--it is the sounds of words and numbers and data, all too abstract to sustain even the tiniest critters among us. Yet that is what we tell ourselves matters.

The real economy is found in the breath we exhale, the knitting of these cold and stale molecules back into the rich stuff we call food, only to be broken again. And again. And again. Until we cannot do it anymore.

A year ago the "I" part of me came close to falling out of this lovely and utterly terrifying cycle of life, though I'd still have been a part of it, my cremated corpse contributing to the building blocks of the living.

I'm still here. So are you. Let's keep it real.

We work at what we worship, and the gods of the old were far less abstract than the ones we worship today.
Photos by Leslie Doyle. If you want to use them, ask.


Kate said...

Happy ALMOST Solstice to you. Gut Yule! - That "your memories here" function of FB reminded me that five years ago today Mom came for the holidays. It would be her last Christmas. She was visibly struggling - the oxygen concentrator was on constantly, and she couldn't get across the house without the walker. But she was here. She was hungry: for food, for conversation, for company, for laughter and stories, for a wee dram (or two, truth be told). These are the dark days, so I thank you for reminding me that the warmth of my own beating heart comes from work and love and the food that we grow. May your days be ever filled with joy and the warmth of the beating hearts of those who love you.

doyle said...

Dear Kate,

Happy Almost Gut Yule back!
Hearts matter, those still beating even more.

I'm going to start planting next week, once the days start lengthening again. I feel a tiny tug of joy to balance the tiny tug of fear felt in late June.

Sol Invictus.


lucychili said...

I am glad you are here =)

Barbara said...

Delighted you are here to be with. We approach the solstice with bated breath...favorite countdown of my grandmother. En dag, ett minutt på en gang. One day, one minute at a time, this is life. Hugs.