Clay Soup and Alan Watts

Riddle: You have 60 small clay faces drying in the sun, almost ready to be fired. What do they turn into after an expected thunderstorm?

Answer: Clay Soup!

If only I had loaded the kiln before we left for the afternoon! But noooooo – the sky was clear, so who would have thought that a gully-washer was coming?

Seeing all of those dissolved clay faces when I got home made me feel sad, but also a bit philosophical. After all, they were still clay. Only their shapes had changed. They were returned back to their primordial soup!

This experience got me thinking about Alan Watts, whose writings have been a huge influence and comfort to me all of my adult life.

Alan Watts often spoke about the nature of life and death in terms that demystify and de-dramatize the transition. The concept that when you die, you go back to being what you were before you were born, is a profound reflection on the nature of existence. From clay to clay? From soup to soup?

He encourages us to view life as a temporary journey through a realm of awareness, much like a bird’s fleeting passage through a lighted house. By understanding and accepting the cyclical nature of life and death, we can alleviate the fear of death and appreciate the transient beauty of our existence. (Alan Watts Organization)​.

If you haven’t read Alan Watts before, I encourage you to start with THE BOOK
On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. If you’re interested in The Book, there’s a PDF version available here.

This is all kind kind of a heavy-duty metaphor about something simple as melted clay, right? But there are lessons in everything. Living an artful life means looking at things through a different lens.

And the other HUGE bonus from this experience was the rain! Because I live in South Texas, I will willingly trade a couple of hours work for some welcome rain! I can make more clay faces but I sure can’t make it rain!

Thanks for reading – back to the clay studio 🙂