Sunday, April 11, 2010

Diet.

I used to poke fun at the expense of an old man's meticulousness. He kept his horse, Hobo, on our farm; a leftover from his ownership of "Three Horse Ranch." Hobo the lone survivor from this triad, was well into his 30s by the time the Three Horse Ranch was sold to my parents. Land evolves, and always has, even before land deeds and rights of ownership, and steadily maintains its Place. The land knows itself. It assimilated its new people and name, "Sunnyslope Farm," with accompanied demanded sustainment of myriad more than Three Horses.

Daily, the old red Chevy pick up would pull down the curved driveway, emerging from behind the aged grain silos. Quietly, he assusmed his place back in this world. He would sit for minutes, sometimes long enough that he would fall asleep before the Duty Awaiting was accomplished. We would stare out the farmhouse windows, "what is he doing?" And inevitably, since the Old Man was well into his 80s, the question would be tentatively asked, "Did he die?" Once, a Scout (my sister, I believe) was sent out to gain information on this latter possibility. Circling the truck, she made noise; dogs barked, Hobo whinnyed for his snack, and yet the Old Man was still. The authorized report retuned by a 10 year old, was that his chest was rising and falling with Breath. Phew...

Now, with semblance of an Old Man, I have gotten sidetracked by the story. This man sat in his truck for minutes upon arriving anywhere, religiously logging the date, time, and mileage driven. Now, years later I wonder why he did this? From whence this practice's birth? As a youth, the practice was explained away as was simply the eccentricity of a crazy old man.

This etching in my mind of another's religious logging of a seemingly ordinary activity, returned as I penned in my Diet Diary. It strikes me now, the instant connotations of the word "diet." Flipping to the entry in the
Dictionary , the first definition is "abstinence from food." Why must this word Diet be used? Why not Daily Viands (from the Latin, vivenda, meaning "things for living"); or, Circadian Consumes; or simply, Aliments. Indeed, the words "Gluten Free Diet" do not sounds pleasant. They are strict, defining, and limiting. This activity, eating, which is so inherent in being Human and Alive, is for me, assiduous.

With doctor's orders, I now write every morsel into my mouth, willing decryption from this concrete action. Yet even day after day, as the cipher remains stubbornly intact, it gives proof that I Eat.

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