Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh what a good time for miracles

I had spent a lifetime thinking the wonderfully superstitious and gullible folks back home in India held a monopoly on natural “miracles” in these modern times. What with people drinking sewage filled seawater that had turned sweet or wasting perfectly good and nutritious milk on Ganesha idols which lapped the milk up (and that is just a select sampling of wonderful “miracles” to pick from).

But nooooooooo, I couldn’t be more wrong. There are no geographical boundaries for gullible folks searching for that next miracle to happen, so that they can reinforce their irrationality and allow their ability to think to atrophy. I discovered that the land of free thinkers, the United States, has a long and proud tradition of miracles as well. In fact there is a veritable cornucopia of miracles here, happening all the time. From the virgin Mary on tortillas to the NunBun in Nashville, there’s a fine collection of miracles all around.

So I was hardly surprised when I read today’s Dallas Morning News, which proudly reported the story of the holy “weeping tree”, which is loaded with “supernatural ice”. Here’s the deal; an old woman dies, and is buried. Soon, a tree that belonged to her starts to collect yellowish-white froth, and bits of liquid started accumulating under the tree.

Family members said they noticed the yellow-tinted froth and the puddles of liquid around the trunk a day after they buried the 92-year-old matriarch…The tree has been "weeping" ever since, they say.

Here’s more; “her daughter, Mary Lou Sanders, said. "Where it's coming from, I do not know. It is something I cannot explain."

Sure, you can’t explain it, therefore it must be a bonafide miracle. And so the faithful flock towards it, in docile submission and hope for more miracles, like restoring the health of a wheelchair ridden child.

If it wasn't true, it would be so funny.

They kneel before it and pray. They stand, patiently extending their open palms or clutching Styrofoam cups with hopes of getting some of the "holy water" drops.

I’m sure that holy water tasted good. After all, it has a wonderfully miraculous source.

Insect spit.

Yup, bonafide insect drool produced by the infamous spittle bug. Or, to quote the Dallas morning news article:

“Not likely, say insect and tree experts who viewed photographs of the substance. They said the "miracle ice" is probably nothing more than a spittlebug nest.” link

Oh well, at least they weren’t drinking sea water. Not much seems to have changed since the dark ages, or so it seems.

(I might as well point towards a guest essay I had written for The Scian, titled The joy of questioning, for those of you who missed reading it earlier. It’s my futile effort to resist the relentless forces of ignorance).

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