discovering the minoans and insights about change

Dear Uma Recently, we had a weekend longer than Saturday and Sunday in order to accommodate Discovery Day, which is a holiday only in Yukon.

Dear Uma

Recently, we had a weekend longer than Saturday and Sunday in order to accommodate Discovery Day, which is a holiday only in Yukon.

I was too lazy to discover what one is meant to discover on Discovery Day, or if it is a celebration of a historic discovery, in which case I would guess it is the discovery of gold in them thar hills, or the discovery that Robert Service was a woman, or the first sasquatch sighting in the Yukon.

Going to the store to buy bread, I noticed a parade of sorts, but could see no indication of what was being celebrated other than the ability to form a line.

The downtown park featured the gigantic inflatable jungle-gym thing that makes an appearance on every fete day in town and provides the children with a busy time. The ubiquitous hotdog stand and the cotton candy booth were there as well, with the usual small crowd of familiar faces huddled around them. The weather was not co-operative; it was overcast and cool and did not encourage lingering.

I have noticed children, and dogs, appear to have metabolisms that do not recognize physical discomfort when they are actively engaged in activities they find pleasurable. There was a long piece of black plastic laid on the slope of the hill in the park and a steady stream of water playing on it turned it into a credible water slide. I’m quite certain the water was cold, yet there were children sliding and giving every appearance of joy in being soaking wet on a chilly day, though their blue lips would indicate otherwise.

In obedience to the decree of Mother Nature, I did not linger but hurried home to mark the day by making a sandwich and a discovery.

The first discovery of note was that potato chips are fabulous when incorporated into a sandwich rather than accompanying it, especially if one is fond of a bit of crunch in one’s food. This tasty tidbit comes courtesy of Cee, who is a wizard of food and is fearless in her combinations of ingredients.

My own cooking efforts have undergone a dramatic change since my discovery of the SPAM website.

I was hooked when I read “Effortless everyday creativity” and thrilled to find that is indeed what is on offer with an abundance of truly interesting and easy recipes.

The website also offers related products such as SPAM nightlights, SPAM fly swatters, SPAM air fresheners and candles, a SPAM wall clock,

and the usual T-shirts and baseball caps with the SPAM logo. There is even a SPAM museum in Austin, Minnesota.

To create Cee’s sandwich, a panini bun is best, though any bread will do. Split the bun and butter it lightly before layering things like sliced deli meats (or SPAM), tomatoes, lettuce, onions, mustard, etc. onto it. Then pile as many potato chips as you can on top and smush the top piece of bread on the sandwich. This is best eaten over the kitchen sink; it’s messy, but worth standing up for.

My second discovery, no less meaningful, is that people do not change in any real way.

This moment of light came to me whilst eating my Discovery Day sandwich with a bowl tucked under my chin and a napkin on my lap, reading your e-mail to me; the one that went on at great length about spiritual paths and the importance of having one as we grow older and closer to the moment of truth.

You are entirely correct in accusing me of not taking you seriously when you get on this track; I thought we had done all that when we were younger and following our guru around India.

You are also correct when you say I tend to be sardonic about the enthusiasms of people from southern California. I am not alone, you must have noticed, in being dismissive of the great cultural tsunamis from La La Land.

Admittedly, I am surprised by your renewed search among the tired and soiled Christian churches. Sufi whirling and tall pole sitting are much more interesting to my way of thinking, though the drawbacks to the actual practices would seem to be beyond the time and ability of most seekers after universal truths.

The basic premises of most religions are good ones; they all want us to be mindful of one another, do no harm, and eat properly. It’s when they get beyond those nice notions that they start to smell.

Religion invariably ends up being about power and control, from the administration of countries and businesses to the administration of family units.

The original intentions get smothered in righteousness; then, simply going through the motions is good enough to warrant the prideful wearing of the label Christian, Muslin, Hindu, Buddhist, or whatever.

Christians, in particular, need to be reminded that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

However, I am of the firm belief that if one cannot keep an open mind, one should at least keep it ajar, and I am willing to be the recipient of your discoveries as you explore the possibilities of a belief system, and the devil’s advocate in any resulting discussions.

In the spirit of participation with you in the search for a spiritual path on which to direct our aging feet for our walk into the sunset, I have decided on polytheism for my belief system. I need to have one if we are to debate yours, and I know a bit about polytheism from my research into the Minoans.

I am liking the Minoans; I like that their society was matrilineal, and that pleasure and beauty were an expected part of daily life for everyone, not just the privileged. I like that there is no evidence of weapons, no battle scenes are depicted, and there are no kingly conquests. Even the ubiquitous phallic symbol is missing from Minoan art.

As for a national sport, it’s hard to beat bull vaulting, although the Christians versus the lions must have been fairly riveting, for all its predictability….

I came across this poem about reincarnation and a horse – I immediately thought of your quest and how people don’t really fundamentally change.

“What does reincarnation mean?” a cowpoke ast his friend.

His pal replied. It happens when yer life has reached its end.

They comb yer hair and warsh your neck and clean yer fingernails

and lay you in a padded box, away from life’s travails.

The box and you goes in the hole that’s been dug into the ground.

Reincarnation starts in when yer planted ‘neath a mound.

The clods melt down and so do you who is inside

and then yer just beginning on yer transformation ride.

In awhile the grass will grow upon yer rendered mound

Till someday on yer moldered grave a lonely flower is found.

And say a horse should happen by and graze upon this flower

that once was you but now’s become your vegetative bower.

The posy that the horse done ate with his other feed

makes bones and fat and muscle, essential to the steed.

But some is left that he can’t use and so it passes through

And finally lays upon the ground, this thing that once was you.

Then say, by chance, I happens by and sees this upon the ground

And I ponders and I wonders at this thing that I have found.

I thinks of reincarnation, of life, and death and such

and come away concluding:

Slim, you ain’t changed all that much.