Food associations have been on my mind lately. The other morning I peeled a grapefruit, and as I began to eat it, I found myself back on Mercy 3B, in that constant awareness of the struggle for sustenance and the psychic significance of wholesome food. Will a grapefruit always take me there? I am reminded of the velveteen rabbit in the famous children's story, who carried the boy's illness for him and was rewarded for his devotion by being tossed on the burn pile. Is there a kitchen-magic fairy who will take away the cancer-embodying grapefruits and turn them into Real?
|Apotheosis of the Grapefruit|
Pain is wonderfully clarifying; it is a great tool for meditative focus. When one is experiencing acute and piercing pain, one does not worry about the disintegration of wealth or the violent death throes of the empire. One does not dwell on the obstinacy of the family budget or the inexorable aging of one's beloved automobile. Nor does the mind linger on whether to start a business or move the whole family onto a boat and sail to Tahiti. There is no anxiety in a week's worth of unopened mail or the prospect of managing the care of two small children on an hour of sleep. There is just pain, exquisite and sublime, offering a respite for the hamster on the wheel in my head. So bitter, so sweet.