By: Kate Savage
“The air pockets, the alkali wastes, the crumbling monuments, the putrescent cadavers, the crazy jig and maggot dance [. . .]”
– Anais Nin
When I stopped believing in a man-god in the sky I took up praying to a very old ewe-sheep. That summer I was living in the Wasatch mountains up above Henefer, Utah with Peruvian sheepherders. I was peering deep into Utah and the cowboy mythos of the West and the Good Shepherd language of Mormonism, finding the strange thing within it and calling it a Master’s’ Thesis.
What was really happening was this: while my friends moved away from Utah and the faith, I saw that ‘leaving’ for me was going to be the opposite direction: inward. An awful movement, without reprieve.
No, and yes: an awful movement, but also something sweet and savory. When you move further and further inside, when you follow the line of blood, peer deeper down at the dirt under your feet, nest in the pages of genealogy books, trace your own words back along the tongue and down into the base of the throat—all of this carries with the pain something delicious. So don’t let me complain.
The sheep was an old ewe, a black face and tattered wool. Her muzzle a bony ridge curving downward. Most people don’t know how big sheep actually are. I rode my horse toward her, to force her with the loud, careening, dust-covered others down the mountains and into an eventual pen, but she planted her feet, lowered her head, and stamped a hoof.
Continue reading “To God, From the Gut”