Monday, June 3, 2013

Ancient magic - Gloria continues

Alchemist illustration thanks to this site.
It was not a conversation she'd ever had with anyone other than herself, how cooking was alchemy.  As she readied to start her day at the tea shop, Gloria was, of course, involved with thoughts of supplies ordered, supplies on hand.  She listened for her own wisdom which suggested choices of pastry and other product to be created.  She thought, briefly, of the actual business of business, profit, expense, depreciation, upkeep.  Mostly she saw herself setting to an ancient task, that of turning one form of matter into another.  She did not speak of it for it seemed a topic that was not easily translated into conversation.  She was clear that thinking about cooking, baking in particular, as a sacred act, was not a matter of ego.  It was a matter of being called.

Gloria Grace, her mother always used both first and middle names when she pitched her voice lower, softer, to pass on wisdom which experiences provided, felt the daily stretching of living in two worlds, or possibly three.  Body, mind and spirit.  She tended to lump body and mind together for their actual, quantifiable and verifiable physical presence, setting spirit off on its own separate atoll.  It was able to thrive there and not perish of loneliness due to the company of other spirits that had been similarly dispatched.  An integration of all the parts, happy and harmonious and no one living in anything like exile or seclusion, would, of course, be the ideal.  As it was, Gloria Grace, the younger and the less young, felt grateful that she could identify and claim her separate parts, that she knew their functions and could live, not always as simultaneously as desired, but at least in sequence, with the parts being aware of each other.

An alchemist, as the ancients would have described him, would not have been an idle man.  It was thought - known - to be a man's work, and not a poor man.   One of some substance, education, stature.  She envisioned him stepping from his doorway for the walk to his laboratory, his retreat, a fine renaissance cap of velvet and brocade as befit his station handsomely worn with garments of equal quality.  She saw her apron, which she donned fresh when she reached the shop's kitchen, as her robe of office, again without ego.  It could have been a mechanic's coverall or the fisherman's pants or the nurses' scrubs.  The ritual of dressing for a part, an assignment, a commitment.  Then she gathered her raw materials and began the magic of transformation through an application of heat.  As she stood with her implements, The Reading Man glided across her inner screen like a shadow puppet.  He appeared not in profile but faced her, a visitor pausing briefly to say without words that he knew her work, he knew the process.  Even when the image faded, Gloria sensed she was not alone.


Erin in Morro Bay said...

An alchemist indeed, for much more warming to the soul to create a sumptuous lemon coconut scone out of flour and such, than to turn lead to gold.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Erin - I've wondered if the whole notion of alchemy is metaphor. Whether it is or not, my money is on cooking/baking as the height of the form, pure magic. And yum. xo

susan t. landry said...

alchemy = men, dripping hot metals, dreaming of the elixir of life.

cooking = women, folding egg whites, creating the gift
of living.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Which is, in part, why I think of ancient alchemy as metaphor, even though the practice is/was actual. My words are not keeping up with me yet today. Yes, transformation must surely be about life and the living of it. xo

Claire Beynon said...

Dear Marylinn, it takes an alchemist to recognize alchemy - in any of its many forms. This is who you are and what you do. Thank you for Gloria and Mr. Apotienne and the gifts that, through you, they bring xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - When the notion came to me, some while back, I wondered that I had not read anyone else making the connection, which I know many must have and I just missed where they told about it. Thank you. I do love my imaginary - and not imaginary - friends. xo

Lisa H said...

In both cases I am the uninitiated, observing by looking down from an open transom. Waiting.
Every entry leaves us more familiar and interested.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - I hope you have a sturdy ladder, you, there, at the transom. Imagine if our inner processes could manifest, take form, in the room. My what a crowded world it would be. xo