Monday, October 15, 2007

In the Court of the Crimson King

We each leave a footprint on the land. In the days of King Henry VIII, the footprint of a peasant was small, barely noticed even in the aggregate, but the footprint of the King was grand. Enormous kitchens ran nearly 24 hours a day to feed the nobility and the staff. Enormous wine cellars quenched their thirst. Great herds of animals were slaughtered daily to feed the kitchens and harvests of vegetables and fruits supplied the great tables. When I think of the grandeur and comfort in which the nobility lived, I am awed by the wealth and power that they possessed.

But imagine their reaction to my modern way of life. Great gushing streams flow at my command - in hot and cold temperatures, from ice cubes to steaming showers. The bounty of an entire continent - even the entire planet - is available at my local grocery store. I direct the power of hundreds of horses to make my way to and from a minor shopping trip, and thousands of horses are available to wing me across continents and oceans. Even the finest artistry from the greatest craftsmen and performers is nothing compared to the wealth of energy and money poured into Hollywood and Bollywood.

Is there a word stronger than "awed"? For surely that is what King Henry must feel when he sees my wealth and power. Yet in my bounty I resolve again to live simply.

Photograph of Moonrise over Hampton Court, England, a country castle of King Henry VIII.

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