The Feast

You and I entered the party. A huge mahogany Table rose up from the middle of the room piled with rich food: including the most delectable cakes, and sugared confections. The Feast dazzled the eyes with so much wonder. And you marveled,

‘Surely, this Feast brings comfort and rest. We will never find happier and richer life elsewhere .. Look at the generous fare!!’

We moved into the Hall filled with so many Satisfied Ones. Everyone here labored willingly, creating Beautiful Offerings within each of their Little Homes. They shared these at Table with one another. We wondered too. No disturbance nor upset came between Husband or Wife, nor Children. All appeared remarkably cheerful. We set ourselves to learn to lead such a Happy Life… which began at Feast. After every single grand meal, they inspired us to prepare our own delectable Offerings for the next weekly Table. And at first, we presented many such treats, received with much Joy and Thanks.

One day, instead of exercising Delight, dishes were set side-by-side on the Table. The Self-Appointed compared them for suitability and banished some out of sight. Poor food rotted Under-Table. We deemed it a Well-Meaning Thing, so both of us cheerfully re-doubled our expense and time at the Home Fires.  With effort, our food would escape such Waste. Thus, the Feast grew more sumptuous day by day…

After a time, we suffered sickness. So… we sought help.

The Great Physician advised you and I to choose wisely from Table. We examined each bite of it. We added basic fare of our own and engaged our hearts in more exercise too. A body, kept in proper order, withstands some indulgence. Such advice from the Physician countered conditions at Table. So discipline payed off… but slowly.

We approached our Hosts with the concerns of the GP.

They extolled the Table’s Virtues above all our questions. They admonished us not to wastefully avoid, nor dissent, but to eat without question their Provender. Some, they countered, grew Well and Good on this Diet. They recommended seeking physicians to dispense some Magic Remedy for certain Inherited Tendencies. It stopped ill effects, and allowed a Ten-Fold consumption. Surely a Ten-Fold-Table would draw Outsiders seeking greater culinary capacity. The Improved Feast might be deemed Best in The Village….

Quietly, we noted other things too…

Table-folk’s sweet Complacency seemed a side-effect of both Remedy and Fullness. Some managed The Diet unaided. Others took up Helpful Exercise. But the Unwitting, lacking in constitution, required treatment. The Hosts praised such compliance. They even favored a few with better Seats. All extolled more loudly the Ten-Fold-Table.

A few poor ones missed Table and were pronounced Truant.  The plain Under-Table fare nourished us, so we lingered below. Our Hosts did not mind if we stayed quietly out of their way. But they shrugged off our fresh fruit, honey, milk and eggs as Common.  Gaining health, we grew in our silence, to avoid begrudging our Hosts any satisfaction. Living Table-Top suited us less and less.

Now and then a token apple, or carrot, might appear on the corner of the big table. Longing to sit upright, some apologetically crawled up for these. Others grew tired, and left. We wondered where they found food and rest.

Wearily, we looked at one another. And you spoke the Sudden Truth.

Never once did This Table belong to us…

Take it or Leave it

She sweeps the grey misty hair out of her eyes with a swift motion, and resorts her gaze to a newspaper. The horizon lost its fascination with the silent lowering of a large yellow orb into the water. At sundown, darkness approached, and cut off both view and horizons. Emotions slip in and out of the recesses of her mind, like photographs fading between the pages of an album. Empty expectations eat at her soul. She’d later silence these heart appetites by gnawing on a few inner reserves.

After all, rapping at the door of hope gave no answer. Surprise, unfortunately, showed up at the same threshold too often. Disruptive variety replaced anticipation. Long arms hung limp with the years, along with her heart. Today, she had waited … to no avail.

Gifts arrived on the front stoop… simple boxed events tipping her life this way and that. Today appeared empty of such. Within the quiet chaos she lived frugally and wistfully imagined the faraway world as charitable. These outside receipts had kept her alive. Parcels, when metered out carefully, carried her one to the next.

She grew to check desires against the means and learned to recognize the seeds of things. She sowed a bit of garden within an inside courtyard. This crop rendered her tiny master of this small domain. She put up pantries full of jars. When snow covered the ground, whimsical couriers failed. Men were fickle. Under a clear sky, and shining sun, all turned friendly once more. But in the cold and dark… her own stores kept her warmed and fed.

She moves inside, away from the dim porch. Tonight’s biting wind hints at the shadows of winter. Instead of turning toward the middle of the compound, she looks down the same gravel road. One more good night’s rest…. she could manage the walk.

Turning to the hearth, she states to no one,

“Done with it all’….  ‘tomorrow, I go. Any crap can wait.’

She thrilled quietly and pictured her own little stoop underneath piles of baggage.