Or the Golden Bowl be Broken – and Soup


The almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:5-7

If a golden bowl exists in the form of a food, then surely that food must be soup. For in soup, in every language and in each place of the world there exists the essence of the golden bowl.

The golden bowl is life pared down to the core and the golden bowl is life exalted. It is of the utmost richness and of the most despairing poverty melded together in one single idea of the human spirit with its tenacious hold on today and on the next day and on all days imagined forward.

Hope is the word, in any language, written in the broth held in the golden bowl.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers —

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words —

And never stops — at all —

Emily Dickinson

Hope is also the thing left in Pandora’s box, saved for eternity as all the evils flew out among the world.

Soup has a literature, a full one. You can read about soup each day of the week for a year at least and never be done with it. And this is good. But hope does not reside on the pages of a book. It lives in a golden bowl, and there is sometimes a spoon alongside it.

Inside the golden bowl are different things. For the mother with small means and many children it could be made out of the leftover bones and scraps of the meal the night before. For the man of the world with a lady to impress it could be rich with cream, bedecked with truffles. For the lover of the hunting life (whether they hunt or not) the bowl might have a fine shank of venison standing proudly upright in its center. All hopeful things, all things to make one believe.

Soup is the thing that makes one believe. A golden bowl. In my family we have one soup which more than others, makes us believe.

Do you?


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