Lips so sweet and tender, like petals falling apart
Buddha said that to stop suffering all we need to do is stop desiring, but after 20 years of marriage, I’m not sure I agree with him. It seems to me that in many ways I suffer less when I desire. I’m pretty sure Chris suffers less too! But actually, I don’t mean sexual desire necessarily, and I don’t mean the “I saw it in Vanity Fair and I desire it” type of desire, but the desire and appetite for life that makes everything take on a special color, flavor and emotion. I remember my grandmother Marion, toward the end of her life, talking about how difficult it was to eat without any appetite. And I know that depression, for me, is a complete lack of engagement with the world around me, which seems to stem from lack of appetite for the things the world offers.
Michael Pollan, in his book, The Botany of Desire, has another take on desire, which I find mind-bending. He says that if you turn your head a certain way it’s possible to see that plants are controlling us through our desire for beauty. Fruits and flowers are their way of enticing us to move them around, out of their initial habitat, and to contribute to a plant’s spread around the world. Like women in a harem, whose choices were so supremely limited that they developed extreme manipulative techniques, plants, which can not move themselves, have enslaved us to their beauty. In other words, they’ve achieved world domination by being desirable to humans.
So here’s to desire, and thank God for botany!