Monday January 28th 2013
Baal, and here there will be angry debate and
spitting, might represent the leader of animals and plants, season,
frost and sleet, summer drought and today's rain. The set into
which we have being, or what some people like to call "mother nature."
A sort of anguish of disobedience, that's combined with 'if only' and a
sometimes grudging 'without you what would we be.' And at the same
time Baal, might be thought of as "the thing in charge of it all."
Which generally speaking and despite the comfort of hallucination to the
contrary, is not you or I.
Early people had become agriculturalists, dependent
upon a more mysterious fertility. A fertility less apparent than
portrayed by the habits of mammals we used to hunt for a living and draw
pictures of for sport. In those days rather than popping down to the
Hardware Store for an emergency input of nitrogen, or something that
might be mixed with water, shrines were constructed and around them
people would gather in an attempt to further the ambition of Gardeners
by 'making nice' to all possible assets and liabilities, real and
imagined, or to Baal. And here, 'making nice' is a catch all
phrase that includes pleading, bursting into tears, promising to behave,
and the brilliant array that can be seen during 'pomp and ceremony.'
The funny hat, the jodhpur, the trake, the Strawberry that tastes like
Pineapple, and on into even less accessible areas of the mail order
When the Israelites entered Canaan, God ordered
them to destroy all shrines, and the Israelites obliged, because there was
just the one useful God, to whom the Israelites had tied their ambitions,
their hopes and dreams from the front cover all the way through to the
extraordinarily unhelpful index. I guess it must have been as
incomprehensible as being told you couldn't wear red, or orange, and under
no circumstances could singing or dancing be tolerated, and girls most
certainly shouldn't be permitted to walk around without covering their heads
and absolutely no building of shrines to Rain or to Flies or to Creeping
Grass, or to Olive Trees, or anything that might have happened longer ago
than yesterday, which is sometimes called Liberal Arts, Statues of the
Buddha, Interpretive Dance..
I think it was Isaiah who put his own "thing in charge of
it all" up against Baal in a rather odd competition that involved asking
"the thing in charge" to reduce a Goat or Cat, or maybe another unfortunate
Bush, to ashes. Needless to say Baal did not win. But much more
interesting, is the use of the word Baal in the version of Arabic that is
spoken in The Levant. Which is the peaceful name for the strip of
fertile land that runs from up near Turkey, down the Eastern Mediterranean
to where the desert begins and Camels take over, just south of Gaza.
The word 'baal' as an adjective, is used to describe gardening that relies
solely upon water that falls from the sky. And, despite the dawn
of seven billion mouths to feed, and the economic opportunity of seven
billion birthdays to celebrate, and the fourteen billion shoes to sell,
I too sometimes yearn for the day when hose pipes are considered the work of