At Mission Cheese in San Francisco for lunch, I ordered a 12-oz French Press coffee with my lunch. They don't have honey there, and remembering that they use natural cane sugar, I asked then for sugar and cream. They brought a 12-oz glass French Press, and on a small beautiful square wooden board about ¾ inch thick, a white 4 oz cup for pouring the coffee, and a small glass jar of cream together with a small white porcelain bowl filled with natural cane sugar – the lighter, off-white kind.
Carefully, I spooned a small amount of cane sugar up and added it to my coffee. I began to stir, and struck up a conversation with the sugar cane spirit.
Is it nice to be cane sugar?
It's nice. People like me.
Because you're sweet.
I thought of the article on “The salt of the earth” I came across a couple days ago. “God didn't say we are the sugar of the earth, we are the salt of the earth,” the article read. “We preserve, and we also irritate people's wounds.” But here I was, sitting with a sweet sugar cane spirit. I turned my attention back to it to learn about its life.
But are people aware of you?
What do you mean?
I thought about how nonchalantly the little bowl with sugar sat on the wooden board on my table. I wouldn't even have thought of talking to the spirit was I not so very reluctant to take sugar into my body in the first place.
Don't they kinda take you for granted?
The cane sugar spirit shrugged. After a couple moments, it asked me:
Why did you ask that?
You mean about people being aware of you?
Just thinking about things. I mean, maybe you are actually good for people.
Oh yes, I am! The spirit was clear about that. If taken medicinally.
Medicinally? You mean in small amounts?
Yes. And consciously.
I pulled my spoon out of the cup and licked the coffee off it.
Wow. This coffee is very good with you in it. Thank you for being on my plate.
I could see the spirit now, it rose from and surrounded the wooden serving board on my table.
How is your life? It asked me now.
The music switched into a danceable fun tune, and behind my right shoulder, I could see Thoth, who was my first inner mate on the spirit plane, dancing with it.
You're with him?
The sugar cane spirit pointed to Thoth.
You love him?
How did it notice? Saint Germain was sitting across from me, he's usually the love in my heart whom spirits notice. But the cane sugar spirit seemed only aware of Thoth.
Yes. We are a bit like a team, we have an inter-dimensional partnership. I think I am part of him, and he is part of me.
I understand that.
The cane sugar spirit showed me its existence within the large spirit of all sugar cane plants.
Wow! What's it like?
In response, it showed me a field of green-leaved cane sugar plants, rubbing against each other and moving together in the wind, touched by the rays of the sun:
It sounds like it.
We rub against each other, we grow together.
It sounds beautiful.
It almost makes me want to be a sugar cane plant.
We paused. I took a sip from my coffee. I imagined the cane sugar coming to the West for consumption.
But no one talks to you here, do they?
I thought of the shamans in Peru and Ecuador, and added:
Oh, but of course the shamans in Latin America do?
Yes, of course, they do. You have been there?
It could see some of my memories.
In Ecuador. That's where I first saw cane sugar plants.
For a moment, I sat with the memories of Ecuador, both the Andes as well as the jungle, the trip on a little canoe in the mosquito-laden muggy Amazon rainforest. The climate had been difficult for me, but the visual beauty of the luscious greens had been a pleasure to absorb.
I took a little trip on the rivers in the Amazon Rainforest. It's nice.
We contemplated the image together for a moment.
So what is it like when you get cut? I imagine some of you get transported on canoes on rivers?
It showed me itself, lying on the boat with several other sugar cane staves. The leaves were still richly green, but in the process of wilting.
What's that like?
I thought it would be sad, and even felt some fear, while imagining being a wilting sugar plant.
It's like nightfall. The spirit said.
Nightfall? That sounded very poetic.
Yes. I know now it's over soon.
It showed itself having been cut from its root. The bottom and top of the plant wilted first; life slowly retreated from the outer edges of the leaves. Once cut, it was nightfall for the cane sugar spirit.
So you don't mind?
Of course not.
That made me laugh. Mortals, of course, I thought. We worry about this stuff. I realized that to the cane sugar spirit, there was no concept of death. And I said to the spirit:
You don't see it as death, do you?
No, it just feels different.
Do you experience it simply as a change of state? I shared with it how I imagined its stages of life from growing upwards from its root, being surrounded by its fellow plants, to wilting without roots on a boat together with other imaginary cut plants, still in community, to all life having left the leaves – the plant's life winding down. Is it like that for you?