Xerploo and Zanyplex were relaxing in a secluded greenery bower. They were of the opinion that the gardens on planet P-56 were much more lush and the breezes sweeter but here they were, currently assigned as celestial guardians to Earth. Given the relatively immature character of this planet, their work was cut out for them and they dare not rest for long.
Their mission was to maintain the existence of this orb, which daily seemed under threat from secular and religious discord. Our guardians believed that, beneath this outward strife, all humans were basically good, and they sought ways to help manifest this virtue. They planned to attend the newly convened meeting of the Council of all gods, past and present.
It started off with the usual banter “I have more new followers than you.” “Maybe so, but I have more holidays in my name.” “Nanny nanny boo boo!” The good-natured kidding quickly subsided, and the tone grew serious.
The assorted deities were aghast at the divisiveness carried on in their names, and they came up with an idea for change.
Thus arose The Great Experiment – a society without outward names and symbols of any particular religion. People would be guided in all their activities by the one uniting principle –GRATITUDE — flourishing in their hearts.
All churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, pagodas, and the like would be renamed and would flourish as places for celebration of nature and seasonal festivities – spring flower shows, autumn harvests, winter festivals of light, and so on.
Xerploo and Zanyplex were heartened by this grand idea and decided to check back in a while to see how the people were faring.
So, some time later, a day in the life…..
Young Tulip woke to the insistent laughter of the 7 o’clock alarm. She was not quite ready to leave her dream. A joyful dream: sweet spring rain tickled her upturned face as she jumped gleefully in mud puddles, making up a song of thanks to the wet and the dirt for such fun. Nonetheless, she stretched happily, anticipating breakfast. She would splash Daisy Dairy milk (“Cow love in every drop”) over the special imported steel-cut oats (“The knife and the oats were close friends; when their time came, the oats gladly went to their destiny”).
The adults sat listening to the news on Steverino, their fancy new iPod dock station.
“Wildfires are rampant in the High Purple Haze Hills. The sagebrush’s spicy spirits fly up to the smudged-streaked sky as dancing flames transform their essence. We expect rain will arrive later today as the sky cleanses itself. Meanwhile, fire engine number 9’s heart was racing in double time on its way to the conflagration.”
“Around the world today: Farmers in Alsace Lorraine agree to end their conflict over harvests of grain and grape once they realize there’s enough to feed and serve them all. The land sighs in relief.”
Now it was Tulip’s turn to say the words of appreciation, “Thank you to each other and to all our sisters and brothers, the air that animates our lungs, the food granting us nourishment, the blood coursing through our veins, the walls of our house which protect us.”
Her older sister, Amaryllis, drove her to school in her sky-blue jalopy which she had lovingly washed just yesterday. The car appreciated her tender ministrations but grew nervous as Amaryllis risked the curves a tad too boldly.
“Slow down”, gasped Tulip, “or I’ll tell what I heard you and Hayseed getting up to last week.”
Unbeknownst to her sister, Tulip and her friends Dahlia and Bullfrog had hid and listened to the teens doing something they called sex. “We figured it must be fun ‘cos we heard lots of giggling, and funny noises, and then you screamed and screamed: ‘Oh, sun, Oh, stars, Oh moon.’”
Tulip’s first class was her favourite: Reading! How she loved her friends in the books. Today’s lessons included The Three Little Pigs and Tommy the Tugboat. She particularly liked The Little Engine That Could.
“I think I can, I think I can”, she shrieked with joy as she jumped clear across the biggest puddle at the side of the path on her way into the school.
In Science class, Rock A. Holic, the teacher, was going to explain the principles of evolution: connection and gratitude (“thank you, atoms, thank you amoebas; thank you, fishes, thank you, Curious George”).
If they had time for the Planets, Tulip thought she had most of their names memorized. Red Planet, Mr. Big, Bright One, Ringed Beauty…She still wondered, “Are there eight or nine? What about the planet of Perpetual Darkness? I like it because it’s so far away; I hope it isn’t lonely now.”
At the end of the day, the whole family would attend the wake for Great Aunt Matilda. She had lived for 94 years and now she would feed the hungry worms who would be eaten by the birds who would spread seeds so crops would grow and we can all be nourished. “Thank you, Matilda, everything is one.”
Marilyn Myerson, PhD Philosophy, has learned to take nothing for granted and to have fun. She retired from USF after 38 years of teaching, learning and kicking up her heels in Women’s and Gender Studies. Marilyn was the first outside hire in W(G)S, starting in 1973, when the department was just one year old. She was an administrator at various departmental and dean’s levels, including a stint as W(G)S Chair before her retirement as Emeritus faculty in 2010. She shepherded the Human Sexual Behavior class through its many incarnations, developed the original women’s health classes, and taught feminist research methodology. She is currently in three writing groups, and happily involved with OLLI-USF, taking art and writing classes. She created and teaches OLLI Imaginative Writing classes and facilitates writing groups.