[image description: Two beautiful JC Leyendecker angels – with full haloes, wings, and finery – kneel in adoration. Their focus? A small pile of pale cheeses, swaddled in pleasing red wax. Text reads, “172, SMALL GOD – BABY CHEESES”]
They don’t have names, just yet; they’re still too young and small and defenseless for that, nestled in soft wax shells like proto rinds, snuggled down in mangers lined with cheesecloth and the sweet smells of milk and hay. They don’t have any sharp edges. Those will come later, if they’re allowed to age and mature for that long.
They never are. That’s not why they’re here.
They’re a delicious snack, sweet and creamy and savory, all at the same time, filled with precious fats and delicate sugars. Each of them lives only as long as a lunch hour, but they nurture the body and the soul, and they consider their short lives well-spent. They feed us. we make them, and they feed us, and isn’t that worship, of a kind? Isn’t that a form of communion?
There are those, even among the pantheon, who say the small cheeses don’t belong. Who say that if you have no unique identity, no divine origin, and no continuity, you can’t be a god. And then there are those, like Firm Ent, the small god of cheesemakers, who say that all cheese is divine, regardless of whether or not it chooses to assemble itself a church; all cheese is proof that the
heavens love the earth, for why else would a process meant to bring on souring and decay end with something so flawlessly delicious?
Cheese is a sign of divinity’s love for the mortal, and the small cheeses are a reminder that this love extends even to the smallest and youngest of the humans.
Yes, there are those who are denied this sweet communion, but there are those who are denied every communion. The bald find little comfort in the hands of Tesla; the hungry yearn for Sandy but are all too often denied his affections. A thing need not be universal to be divine.
A thing need only be.
And the small cheeses most definitely, and deliciously, are.
Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world: