Monday, September 3, 2007

Life and death

Nephew-in-law brought me a big fish back from his Labor Day excursion -- what they call a croaker in these parts. He does not care to eat fish, just catch them. I do not care to catch them, just eat them.

So in the warm September darkness, I sat on my front porch with a sharp knife and began the familiar old ritual -- as old as the first man who robbed a river of its silvery child.

I will spare you the gruesome details. Suffice it to say, that several steps are required to convert a whole fish into the neat little fillets that just about everyone loves to sink their teeth into.

And every time that I go through them, I feel a little bad, feel a little pity for this creature that has had a very, very bad day. The justifications run through my mind: This creature is a flesh-eater, as I am, and it would have no sting of conscience in swallowing a smaller fish. Man has been a carnivore for millions of years - it's nature's way.

But still.

Hey, I have no use for hypocrites who shed tears over a hunter's bounty but load up their grocery carts with plastic-wrapped squares of meat that someone else killed.

I do respect people who have made the full commitment to live a life free of shedding blood -- and free of aiding and abetting others in the deed.

I am conflicted. Someday I hope to have the will to give up the meat habit. It is possible to live that way, and better, I think, to live that way.

In the meantime, I will be careful not to waste this fish. I will eat it with thankfulness. And I will bury the offal in the garden as man has done for millennia, thus returning what I cannot use to the earth to be recycled and nourish the land.

4 comments:

Nadiyya said...

Thanks for sharing this. I went two days ago to the norwegian whailing museum. With a very open mind. Came out knowing this is wrong. Really wrong. To kill a whale can take hours, or days, of pain and stress for the animal. I am sorry, but that does NOT make healthy food!

Laura Stamps said...

I have been a vegetarian/almost vegan (love organic cheese on veggie pizza and lasagna) for years, and love it. Most people have no idea how GOOD we eat. I turned 50 this year and have the energy of a 23 year old and feel that way inside all the time. Yes, faery glamour has something to do with it (grin), but my diet is also responsible for much of it too. All I did was give up 3 things: meat, sugar, almost all dairy. And went mostly organic. One of the best decisions I ever made.

I did it because I am in feral cat rescue and an animal lover. Also because of all the terrible chemicals and hormones they load our food with in the U.S., especially meat. One of my vegetarian friends puts it this way: she won't eat anything with a face. Wow! That really says it all, doesn't it?!

Sending many faery xoxox to you today!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Well written.
It is the cycle of life. When we die and return to the earth... does it not eat us in it's own time?

It is the way of nature. It is not wrong, and only man has guilt over it.

Scarlett & V.

eastcoastdweller said...

Nadiyya, Laura and Scarlett: Thanks, as always, for Your intelligent responses.

This is an important conversation to have.