Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Shining a Light in the Darkness

"What hope is there for individual reality or authenticity, when the forces of violence and orthodoxy, the earthly powers of guns and bombs and manipulated public opinion make it impossible for us to be authentic and fulfilled human beings? The only hope is in the creation of alternative values, alternative realities. The only hope is in daring to redream one's place in the world -- a beautiful act of imagination, and a sustained act of self becoming. Which is to say that in some way or another we breach and confound the accepted frontiers of things."
Ben Okri

For the last several days, I have been trying to string words together to express my grief about the atrocities in Ukraine, and I have failed. Others do this better than I. This morning's offering is from Ben Okri, and Ben had it right. 

We carry on. No matter how dark and brutal things get, we light our need-fires and candles and butter lamps and rusty lanterns and carry on. We shine our little beacons into the dark corners where evil festers, and we call the beast by its true name. We summon the fiend into the light of day and expose it in all its grotesque hideousness. We dare to imagine a world where such unspeakable things do not happen.

I am a long way from the front lines in Ukraine, and my tools are simple ones, but cast iron pots, wooden spoons, vegetables and spices are magics too, and I am using them with fierce intention. As I stir my cauldron of Three Sisters soup round and round, I think of Chef José Andrés and his team at World Central Kitchen who have been on the front lines since the war started, feeding thousands of families escaping violence and Ukrainians remaining in their homeland. José and his team of volunteers are my heros.

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