This is a posting about saying grace. But it's going to take a bit of background to get there. Please forgive me. I'm not a religious person. But I do have a certain amount of spiritual feelings. A few years ago I went to a fantastic, fun summer camp, Camp Winnarainbow. This is a terrific summer camp for kids to learn circus skills like juggling, trapeze, mime, etc. It was started by Wavy Gravy of Woodstock fame. The first week of every summer, they have a camp just for adults to rediscover their inner child. I went to that one for a few years. It was fantastic. And one of the traditions they had was to have a very counter-culture-ish grace before every meal.
One of the sources of these graces was a great prayer book titled Earth Prayers From Around the World. This is a collection of prayers and poems from many spiritual traditions. Here are two of the poems that particularly spoke to me. The first is an Arapaho grace.
Our father, hear us, and our grandfather. I mention also all those that shine, the yellow day, the good wind, the good timber, and the good earth.
All the animals, listen to me under the ground. Animals above ground, and water animals, listen to me. We shall eat your remnants of food. Let them be good.
Let there be long breath and life. Let the people increase, the children of all ages, the girls and the boys, and the men of all ages and the women, the old men of all ages and the old women. The food will give us strength whenever the sun runs.
Listen to us, Father, Grandfather. We ask thought, heart, love, happiness. We are going to eat.
And another by Gary Snyder. (In looking for this poem on the web, I found this fascinating article by Snyder.)
Eating the living germs of grasses Eating the ova of large birds
the fleshy sweetness packed around the sperm of swaying trees
The muscles of the flanks and thighs of soft-voiced cows
the bounce in the lamb's leap
the swish in the ox's tail
Eating roots grown swoll inside the soil
Drawing on life of living clustered points of light spun out of space hidden in the grape.
Eating each other's seed
eating ah, each other
Kissing the lover in the mouth of bread: lip to lip.
May your breakfast be sweet today.