I moved into a basement bedroom at my father’s house in Holland, Michigan. A duct from the furnace passes visibly through but (comically) none of the vents open into this room. My vaporizer did not survive the move so I substituted a crock-pot.
My strategy was to fill it 3/4 with water and refill it at the 1/4 marked. Set on ‘low’, it made a steady column of slightly-warmer air between my bed and an end-table that thinks it’s an alter. Yet just once, and once-and-for-all, the water totally vaporized at the end my second week in Holland.
Noticing, I automatically scooped the ceramic basin from the heat-making part (without unplugging it), whisked it across the room, swiftly carried it toward the small wet-bar near the stairs — except, I wasn’t really paying attention. My brain was still frazzled from the move, the circumstances that precipitated the move, the prospects of changing my circumstances from here, and — I bobbled the ceramic pot… it dropped… it got smashed.
Maybe that fall could break a cool, new crock-pot. It was brittle with heat and had preexisting cracks. Several shards had darkened edges from the seep of long-forgotten meals. My mind sprinted between memories of better times in my DC apartment, times when I felt capable and loved; I supported myself in a space of my own. I had specific career and romantic prospects, the outlines of a definite trajectory for what “should” happen. All was smashed.
My attention jolted to the situation: ‘now, things are getting even worse. This winter could kill me, between the leaching cold and constant clouds; I lost another asset — but it’s not as if that old crock-pot was a solution.’ I managed to orient myself and put my hands on a ‘rudder’, adjust my sails, get the vessel of my self slowly turning onto a better tack.
Before I worked in Grand Rapids, MI, and long before I lived in Bethlehem or arrived in Washington, DC, I studied Sociology abroad in Belize. One weekend I followed an ethnic-Mayan along a sunken river to a cave still gaining shape. We swam through narrow passages and gazed upon a sacrificial chamber. Human skeletons were the chief draw, the most extreme example of the rituals performed, but there was also a huge mound of broken pottery. In less desperate times, appeasements took the form of earthen vessels offered by the priests. Some had a neat hole punched in them by a chisel, others were smashed to shards.
“By breaking the pot, they released its spirit,” said the guide. Whatever the spirit of my crock-pot is, I trust it will join my cactus mug and together they will advance my purpose in The Universe. They each wanted desperately to help me and, thus, jumped from my hands to escape their ceramic cells. I threw the crock-pot’s shards and the heating element away— its sacrifice is complete.