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In the beginning

there was a whale in a jar,

content with very little:

size of the emptiness,

size of the jar,

the cold stiff hug of glass.

He would wile away the nothingness

and enjoy the feeling he got from breathing

in and out.

But eventually something cracked.


In a single moment of clairvoyance,

the Whale conceived of ocean.

Dissatisfaction sparked, the Whale

moaned and tossed – beleaguered by his

glass confinement.

Discontentment gave birth to ambition

and the Whale began to swell.


The jar then snapped and fell away.

The Whale fell away as well

for millions of year through strata by strata

of petrified darkness. He felt defeated.

He couldn’t be sure but he thought he might be growing.

It then occurred to the Whale to give voice to want.


“Ocean,” he called out, and splash

boomed the water.


“Hunger,” said the Whale, and his mouth

was filled with krill.


“Fun,” said the Whale, and the ocean

alight with creatures.


That was good enough for Whale

for a long time, a long time.


But it wore off and the old ennui returned.


“Love,” said the Whale, his voice heavy

with self pity.


And there beside him swam his very-joy.

They felt warm inside.

But soon there was not enough krill for both

and she died.


“Anger,” said the Whale, and volcanoes

vomiting liquid smoke piled up land

until it broke through the water.


Whale tried to find something he could hate

amongst the multitude of creatures

but he could not, he could not.


“Enemy,” said the Whale, and Man

appeared on land, crafting boats.


Something struck the Whale’s flank.


“Pain,” he yelped

but it couldn’t surmount the absence of his warmth.


It was no use, the hate. No use.

The Whale felt defeated and bumped the ship

gently, in resingnation.

A jar toppled overboard and plunged into the ocean.

Whale followed it down like a funeral procession

until the jar came to nestle in a submarine crag.


My, had he swollen.


How visceral the lure of this jar was to the Whale

but for all he did he could not fit inside.


“Justice,” he howled, and the Whale

gently died. 


Farmer's Market in Berkley, California

When customers come into the Bread Bar with a book in hand I make a point of asking them what they are reading, because the “how are you” conversation gets tiring and a little deadening.

This afternoon a tall, dark haired woman ordered a chai tea and a ginger snap cookie to have while she read her book. After letting her read for a while I approached her table to ask her what it was about. She flipped to the cover and showed me the title, “The Prayers of Julian of Norich.” She went on to explain that Julian of Norich was woman from the church of England who wrote about a God of joy and compassion instead of law and duty.

I left her to read by the front windows with waves of jealousy and joy.

A little while later she approached me with a tiny page ripped from her purse sized notebook. She shyly handed it to me and said, “Julian of Norich understood the worth of creation in the eyes of God long before it was popular, I think you would love her because you garden.”

I have never met this woman before.  She did not know my name, so I told it to her and I asked her’s in return. Mary.

The small piece of paper had these words scrawled,

And in this [the Lord] showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, laying in the palm of my hand, round as a ball… In this little thing I saw 3 properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it. But what did I see in it? God is the Creator and the protector and the lover (Showings, p 183).