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Bear with me, because this intro will be somewhat roundabout. Upon reading this, you may be inclined to regret the moments – minutes, even – that you've spent poring over my host of semi-lucid posts. Beware: Any respect you may have had for me might be lost today.
I've decided to go Vegan.
Baahahaha. Just kidding!
But what I'm about to say really couldn't be any worse than that statement, so here goes:
I watched The Bachelor the other day.
Have I lost you? Actually, I've watched it a few times now because one of the sweetest, most genuine ladies from my sorority days was on there. She was sent home early in favor of a few more unstable, less cool, more plastic-y contestants. Anyhow, I mention this guilty pleasure because one of the remaining ladies, a woman named…um…So-and-so, said something very intelligent; and as a Lit major I'm bound to attribute quotes properly.
So-and-so said, “We're a death-denying society.”
This contestant, who is an undertaker in Chico, CA (so many great minds in Chico!) had an excellent point. We are so far removed from death. We think about it, but only in the context of decrepitude, Joan Rivers, insurance policies, and improbable scenarios played out on CSI. We avoid the truth of it at all costs, and in doing so, we miss out on much of the appreciation we should have for life and our place in this world. And when you strip off all the modern accoutrements, the granite countertops, and the Zumba classes, it's a little clearer: We are part of an amazing, dynamic, intelligent System; one that's not only physical, but emotional and – dare I say it – spiritual in its unfathomable synergism.
We are certainly death-denyers, especially when it comes to our food. We don't know where it comes from, what it takes to raise it in harmony with nature, or what it takes to hunt and/or kill it; and from the time we're four, we know that animals are just like us, but furry. That they are our bretheren – our nonviolent, vegan, happy bretheren, and thus the seed is planted: I can't eat Bambi!
I swear, I thought hunting was a crime my entire childhood. (Where in blazes did I think my meat came from?) I couldn't believe that the nameless, faceless, evil hunter would separate sweet little Bambi from his mother. Absentee father, mother whose flesh was being turned into deer jerky…could the world be any more cruel? And all these little forest animals wanted to do was frolic in a clearing and bat their ridiculously long eyelashes!
I'll freely admit, the thought of slaughtering my own game makes me a little antsy. But one day, I'm going to have to do it. I've got an obsession with only eating animals that have had a life close to what Nature intended; it probably borders on orthorexic. I've been wanting chicken for weeks now, but haven't nailed down a source I like. Bulletin: “Vegetarian Fed Wholesome Grains in an Enriched Environment” is wrong on about eight levels. Nothanx. I'll drive an hour each way and spend 12 bucks on a pound of pastured, sustainably farmed, organic, grass-fed (yada yada yada) beef when I know I could get it for $2 elsewhere. But I'm still removed from the process (unlike my friend Ashley, the huntress).
I want to live appreciatively, and knowing myself (an omnivore) and what I need (animal products: Vitamin B12…Pre-formed Vitamin A…Vitamin K2 MK-4…the list goes on) there's no better way to do it than to express, through my choices, my gratitude for the many deaths that take place to nourish my existence. One day I'll be richening the soil as part of that Cycle. It's not fun to talk about, but every day I eat something's kids. I ate Bambi the other day, and my dog did too (albeit from a different source).
I'm going to be ridiculously trite and draw from the Blackfoot, a tribe who lived for centuries on a diet of 90% meat and who valued certain animals as their spiritual guides. They loved animals. And they ate them too. I won't romanticize their connection to nature – we all know that drill. But I like the fact that there's no sugar-coating the pesky Death issue when it comes to the hunt. The Blackfoot hunted buffalo by driving them off a cliff, and called the cliff Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.
Now that's realistic. I will say that I hardly ever hear about how my food was killed. I only hear about how it was farmed.
Is it time to learn a little more about the killing part?
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