We have all been swallowed by the beast; we rock gently in its belly.
I am reminded of this when the sun rises late, lingering too long beneath the prehistoric folds of mountain. Until it rises, we are trapped in the inky blue, like an evening. The smell of oregano-laced soup inside, the smell of nothing outside (the January cold burns the air tasteless).
What is the beast? I think, grabbing the keys. Sophie is on my hip, and together we will brave the winter morning to take out the trash.
Inheriting a world not of our making. From mother-womb to world-womb, we have consented to none of it.
I balance the trash in one hand with the keys; we have descended the concrete stairs, so I put Sophie down to walk, and she tugs on my hand, struggling to get free.
Our first step should be a bellowing "yes!" We must consent to living in a corrupted masterpiece (it has always been corrupt, by the way, and always a masterpiece). This is the only consent which matters in the end: the surrender to the waning and waxing of light, to the gross injustices and the tiny kindnesses, to the ceramic mugs of coffee and the potted plants, to love and perhaps being loved.
I give the keys to Sophie. "Hold," I say, and she complies, while I throw the trash into the dumpster. Then I scoop her into my arms in spite of her protests, and walk back towards our building.
If any act of consent requires a ceremony, it is this one. And I smile to think of it. Perhaps wearing a red dress (you cannot freely consent to the world while you are still innocent of the world, so the color white would not be appropriate). A pleasant thrill of nervous excitement in my eyes, I would kneel at an altar before a priest, poet, or philosopher. I would bow my head before a wine glass of distilled earth, would somberly repeat, "I take this earth to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part." And then, bringing the glass to my lips, I would drink until I have had my fill, my throat cleansed by the bittersweet clay, hints of hay and rain.
I open the apartment door. Sophie charges inside while I hang the keys on their hook, slip off my shoes.
I have already consented, of course. You can't have a child (intentionally, at least), without first consenting to the sufficiency of this earth. Is it good enough to sustain this child? I think so, and she is certainly good enough to change it.