From my bank of unblinking windows I watch the ways of old trees dying. None are a direct threat, so I keep a respectful distance and consider rootedness and wind, drought and disease, and the sustenance dead trees leave for future generations.
Like trees, we exist fleetingly between flood and fire, partaking of a generous past, discovering our relevance even as we decay. I have been reborn many times, birth canals shaping the way things look when I reemerge. This morning’s reemergence is solemn. I am grateful for the stillness.
But my revery is interrupted by two pigs noisily reminding me it’s breakfast time. Obviously, their pen is too close to the window. These exuberant uprooters are stinkers in every sense of the word. I try to limit my fondness, but the way they make eye contact is most endearing. I see interest. Recognition. Maybe even primitive affection. I also see the truth. They are omnivores. If I were down and broken, they would eat me. And I’m sure somewhere in their active little brains, they are aware that I am a predator, and they are worthy prey.
“And thus you could break and eat them,” God says, finishing my thought.
“Eat or be eaten, eh?” I say, scattering soaked corn for the dramatically ravenous pair.
“Almost. But actually, it’s eat and be eaten,” God says. “That’s the plan. A good one, if I do say so myself.”
This is not a new conversation. I wrinkle my nose as images of mold, fungi, maggots, and other faithful workers of creation come to mind. I am an integral part of an inclusive, circular, cleansing, evolving, expanding universe. Pigs, chickens, cattle, yaks, grasses, trees, seeds, whales, mules, plankton, cabbage, caviar. Apples, melons, hybrids, bones, stones, erosion, uprisings, down-fallings. I sigh and look at my hands.
“So, God, what do you eat?”
God laughs. “Oh, I nibble on almost anything. I’m not picky. And before you ask, let me add that I am also eaten.”
I resist this idea, but then I realize I’ve always known the divine and sacrificial taste of God.
“You’re welcome.” God says, dissipating into the blue tangibilities of a day that has arrived unscathed.
There are orange chunks of squash in the trough—the final remains of last year’s garden. I sweeten the deal with an outdated protein drink we bought for a friend with cancer. The pigs are in hog heaven. I’m jealous of their uncomplicated joy.