Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Elk Cliff Farm-vore

Karen served Puck for dinner last night.  Puck was our first rooster, a fellow who earned enemies by sneaking up from behind after being forgotten.  Fed up, and ready to take the next step toward self-sufficiency, Karen and her accomplice, Adam, did the deed.  I had expected that to be my responsibility, but they performed it so quickly and efficiently they were coming in when I was heading out.

A pile of feathers in a bucket reminded me of the thin line between life and death.  I've seen lively, active, thoughtful people walking around one day and, like Puck, lifeless the next.  Having a name I know and a face I recognize emphasizes the meaning of their "passing."  Being present when eyes glaze into nothingness, or somethingness we hope, is an amazing moment, in part because some day, preferably long distant, it will happen to me.  As a child, I thought it must hurt and the person must be very brave. I also thought that since it has happened to everyone who died before me, I would somehow find a way to handle it, too.

Many have suggested that if you're raising animals for meat, don't name them.  I disagree.  A name helps keep things personal.  At a time when many, if not most, people spend more of each day pecking at a keyboard than relating directly with family, friends and acquaintances, emphasizing the personal makes sense.

Virginia says, "But we're talking about animals here, future meals, not friends and neighbors."

"Not true," I say.  "Otherwise, why would so many decry livestock factories and feed lots, touting the importance of living a 'good life' in a pasture where the sun shines?  Some even think a little friendly petting can't hurt."

"Thank you, Puck," I would have said if I hadn't been late.  Thank you for gracing our first entirely home-grown non-vegetarian dinner.

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