Archive for May 2009

A Taste of/for Life

May 4, 2009

Tree on Calkins RoadOK, so I haven’t written here in a long while.  Nobody told me that it was going to be hard to come up with stuff on a regular basis.  And then my sabbatical was over and I was working so much and and and …………  Stop me if you’ve heard this sad story before.  Bottom line: I’m back.

Partly I am writing again because I got a taste for doing this and I liked it.  Also, I’ve been very grateful for the many responses and the support.  So I think I’ll make my re-entry around this whole idea of getting a taste of something.  Taste in this sense is literal, as when we put things in our mouths and have the taste buds and saliva and sensory stuff in there give us an experience.  It is used in various other ways as well: she had great taste in clothes and bad taste in men.  We talk about a taste “of” and a taste “for” something.  We talk about someone being “tasteless” altogether.  In Mob movies they talk about having “a little taste” of the action.  In the literal sense a taste is like a sample of something so that we can know whether we like it or not.  It is the data that tells us whether we want more or not.

It makes me think of Adam and Eve who took a taste of the forbidden fruit.  The standard line about them is that this was a bad thing, that they blew Eden and put us on the road of suffering and limitation and death.  But, I mean, if you could go back there and stop them from taking that first taste would you do it?

I guess what I am getting at is that we are all still faced with the same question:  Do we want to take the risk of living a life that includes the knowledge of good and evil; the life of consciousness and consequenc; or, do we want to stay in our best version of Eden – the comfort zone of the safe and the known and the pre-approved?

Let me put it another way.  I spent most of my life hating tomatos.  I mean really hating them.  How many fundamentalist anti-tomato people do you know.  I am their poster-child.  Then one day my wife basically said, “Try this or else.”  Since I was pretty sure what the “or else” might entail I gave it a try.  I didn’t die.  In fact I have now become a tomato snob who turns up his nose at store-bought tomatos and would much prefer to have the ones we grow in the yard.

The point is that I was totally convinced I would die, and I didn’t.

Yes, I know there are all kinds of things one can try a taste of that are really deadly.  But cut me a little slack here I am just trying to make a point.  When we get so convinced that “tasting” certain things that are outside the known zone, the familiar, the seemingly safe it starts to become a habit.  Pretty soon we become so good at being safe that we forget how to live.  I am not talking particularly about things like sky-diving or bungee jumping per se, but that’s up to you.  I am talking about the immediacy of life that comes when we risk “tasting” something: a new food, new music, new ideas, new people; maybe, just starting to “taste” our feelings and thoughts.  Yes, there are risks involved.  Don’t get me started on eggplant.  But mostly we don’t die.  In fact we may start to expand our appetites.