100 Comments
founding

I feel like every one of your essays is more powerful than the last, and yet they are all individually powerful in different ways. *This* one is just . . . wow. I need to shut up and walk with it for a long time.

"The most staunchly-committed atheist who doesn’t believe in ghosts and expects complete and total lights-out-forever-when-death-comes is still involved in the global community that determines what kind of world our upcoming generations will have to live in." Somehow everything we face is in this line. (Also, I am an atheist who is actually terrified of ghosts so I might be approaching life all wrong.)

Thank you for the kind words, for all of your words, every time 🧑 And Happy Birthday! On ice cream and pie it really depends on the flavors. I'd only mix vanilla ice cream in and maybe only with cherry or strawberry-rhubarb pie; otherwise, I'd eat them separately and in generous quantities.

Expand full comment
Apr 4, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Having just had a birthday myself, I am concerned for what I am leaving behind for my grandchildren. What legacy do I leave them with. I am running out of time! I fear for our world. I fear for the disasters we are leaving those who follow.

I have come to the conclusion that the most important thing I can leave for my grandchildren is the need to be kind. To be generous. To be genuine. To be open to the world around them. To treat our planet with deliberate kindness. To respect all people, nature, and themselves.

Your musings always leave me with new things to ponder. Happiest birthdays to you.

Expand full comment
Apr 5, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

I am terribly cynical and have to fight it all the time to keep despair away. I do this by looking for kind things to say even to strangers in a store, or on the street (what a beautiful child! I like that skirt. Your hair is beautiful). Making someone smile or feel good greases the cosmic engine. I post pictures of birds or flowers on FB often (and sometimes I chide politicians too). At my age I need relief from horror and doom, and I look at my little dog and wonder at how amazing her composition--her eyes, her ears. How beautiful is this life beneath a star. How beautiful we CAN be. Happy b-day.

Expand full comment
Apr 4, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Ah, what nourishment β€” thanks for the gift of your words today. It's been damn hard to resist the easy devil of cynicism in these recent years of unabashed bigotry, gluttony, destruction, and narcissism. I'm starting to think that tenacious goodwill and robust community are pretty fuckin punk rock. They're the vigorous refusal to let the spark of human goodness be extinguished by forces and impulses that would douse our collective humanity.

Best of birthdays to you, friend.

Expand full comment
founding
Apr 4, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Happy birthday! It is important to have both the cake (ideally chocolate with chocolate frosting) and ice cream (ideally vanilla or mint chip) side-by-side in a bowl. That way, the melting ice cream seeps into the drier body of the cake while you scoop with a spoon the proper ratio of cake to ice cream.

Expand full comment

Chris, words fail me when I am writing this down. I am astonished on your uninhibited written meditations and how poignantly you deliver them. I connected immediately to the isolation that you reflected upon and also on the hauntingly beautiful concept of Bardo Thodol. I wonder too if those souls realize what they are emerging into the world for.

I love this piece. Thank you for sharing πŸ™πŸŒΌ

Expand full comment

Happy birthday.

The husband's birthday just passed and he seems to have been struck by a combination of "is this all" and "thankful to be alive." I'm going to share the parts about mortality with my niece. We both still miss my mother/her grandmother, yet often feel her presence.

This line: "mean to paralyze anyone the way the cereal aisle can"!

Cake with ice cream (non-dairy) on top.

Expand full comment
founding

Beautiful post, Chris!! For ALL foods, I like a rather shallow bowlplate. And, I like ice cream next to the cake. And a nice big comfortable spoon whose shape holds an adequate bite yet fits into my mouth without me looking like a gorging fool. And, this: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of my favourite people to walk this Earth. Truly. Indeed.

Expand full comment

I love this fresh view of what hopefulness can be, and your exploration of wrestling with cynicism and control resonates so strongly with me today. Happy (much belated) birthday and thank you for sharing these words!

Expand full comment
Apr 7, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Hopefulness as adversarial. Hell yes. Thank you for this, Chris.

I'm a few days late to this party, but I feel a responsibility to show a sign of life in the comments for the 🐐 (aka you). Many safe returns, Aries. πŸ”₯

(P.S. Where do we think Nick Cave comes down on the cross-contamination of ice cream and cake?)

Expand full comment
Apr 6, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Wow.Good and much needed medicine for this morning.

I like to have the cake and Ice cream separate at first...,and then mixed up as the ice cream melts.

Happy Birthday ChrisπŸŽ‰βœ¨. Many happy returns. Niawen Kowa for the good medicine. Ioia: nere'.

Expand full comment

Happy belated birthday. I turned 61 last week and that, my friends, is certifiably, definitely, unquestionably OLD. I'm old. And it kind of pisses me off and goads my inner rebel to flout any "rules" about what I should eat, drink, think, do, be at this age. More "tantrum" than "rage against the dying of the light" or whatever. Feh.

I'm a cake-only person unless the cake is one of those bakery deals where it's so dry that you need a plop of ice cream to make it swallowable. I mean, I'm still going to eat it. It's CAKE.

Expand full comment
Apr 5, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Happy Birthday, Chris! It occurs to me that it is possible that you were conceived on the 4th of July. I remember when I realized that I was likely conceived on New Year's Eve.

If I could eat cake and ice cream, I'd go for the ice cream inside the cake that I remember from my childhood. Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream inside is the best!

Thank you for the link to the lively interview. Your written voice and your spoken voice are equally compelling and vital. Thoroughly appreciated listening to the interview and will just have to wait for Becoming Little Shell to be available for purchase.

Grateful to have found you and this community of readers of your writing.

Expand full comment

Chris, there are select few writers that are able to capture what I'm thinking in an articulate, reasoned, heartfelt, and occasionally funny, way... OR invite me to look at the world, big and small, in a different, and better, more compassionate, way. You are one of them. Keep doing what you're doing. :-)

Expand full comment

Happy Birthday! I'm a cake, no ice cream kind of person.

You can add me to the list of criers on this one--birthdays are different now that we are older, aren't they? They matter a whole lot less and a whole lot more, I think. Birthdays now, for me, are tinged with so much melancholy, too. My older brother died on Nov. 1, 2020. He was 38. I was with him. Every year I get older, I get closer to his age and it hurts so badly knowing that soon I will be his older sister. That the middle age of his life was when he was only 19. That your next birthday is never promised. Your cynicism (and boy is mine big) will never save you, but your hope MIGHT.

My brother was a (lightweight) practicing Buddhist, and believed in reincarnation, including his own. While we haven't seen him in any full form yet, we feel his presence regularly.

I will think about this for a long time: "Mortality is not kind, and do not let anyone tell you it is. If there is such a thing as wisdom, and I have serious doubts about its presence in my own life, it lies in the acceptance of the human condition and perhaps the knowledge that those who have passed on are still with us, out there in the mist, showing us the way, sometimes uttering a word of caution from the shadows, sometimes visiting us in our sleep, as bright as a candle burning inside a basement that has no windows.”

Thank you for sharing, and for giving me this little space to share.

Expand full comment
Apr 5, 2022Β·edited Apr 5, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Happy birthday Chris; how lovely to know we have the same birthday! I pre-ordered a pink champagne cake for mine. It is quite the salve for the disintegrating world we live in. My hubby lost his wallet a couple of days ago, dropped in a supermarket parking lot, and is so upset that no one tried to return it. He is the most positive person I know ( definitely the yin to my yang) and it makes me sad he's so disappointed in humankind.

Expand full comment