Have tea with me

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  • Yara Zgheib

On my Plate


‘At some point in life, the world's beauty becomes enough.’

-Toni Morrison

Photo by Jordan Arnold on Unsplash

Thank you for having us.

Thank you for coming! That bag looks heavy. Allow me.

A grateful sigh as the weight is lifted.

Come on in! You must be cold!

A little, and tired, but happy to be here. Another deep hug or two to make up for those that fell through the cracks since the last time we gathered.

Hungry?

Ravenous. Just the right degree to be before a Thanksgiving feast. A glance at the dining room table:

Look at all of this!

Colours and smells and textures flow in and out of one another, competing for my senses’ attention. Dried herbs, paprika, red wine, cinnamon? Oranges and greens and the creamy, swirly, white of whipped potatoes. Roast potatoes. Perfect cubes of butternut squash, crisp and golden at the edges.

Saucy, juicy, crimson cranberries by hot bread to soak up the gravy. Grandmother’s plates, blue paint on white porcelain, and her embroidered, starched tablecloth. And my name, handwritten, has its place as well, on a card by my glass, reflecting light.

There are just as many colours, smells, textures around the table as on it. An atheist, a Christian, two Objectivists, a baby, two dogs, a cat, an existentialist. A friendship that has outlasted time, time zones, fiery debates. Simple, unquestioned, unspoken loyalty. The kind one sees in some families.

Thank you so much for preparing this!

Our pleasure!

And I believe it. Some laughs, some toasts, then

Shall we eat?

Yes. Yes! ‘Let us be together; let us eat together.’ The Upanishads. These Sanskrit texts are millennia old. Their name means, literally, ‘to sit down near.’

We do sit down, as the Hindus did, and the Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Jews. Pilgrims and native Americans. Paleolithic homo sapiens. From ancient times, through mourning and celebration, on feasts and weekdays after school, people have been gathering to give thanks and share food.

The latter is piled in abundant piles, precariously high on my plate.

Thank you, but that is far too much!

My protest is ignored, cheerfully.

A pause, when every plate and wine glass facing every guest has been filled. Awareness of ‘a broader, richer radius’ extending beyond the table. To those who grew and harvested, ground, baked, delivered, bought, served, gathered. To the food itself, to being alive and present. Some pray. Some rejoice. Some just say: Thanks.

Grace is consciousness of the beauty in a specific moment. The universe on my plate and in my life. That I have received, and am grateful,

For food, for raiment,

For life, for opportunities,

For friendship and fellowship,

for turkey feasts or toast and salt. I take the first bite and savour.

#reflection #philosophy #culture

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