November is one of my favorite months, but personally also one of the most tragic. It’s a celebratory time of my birth and many other members in my family, but it is also one of heartbreaking loss. And this reminded me, especially in November, about honoring all life, including animal life. We all come from the Earth and we all go back to it.
If you’ve ever had a pet that you’ve loved you’ll understand the heartbreak that comes with losing your companion. Raising animals for food, letting them live happily and peacefully, then humanely harvesting them bears a similar disposition. There’s a cacophony of juxtaposed feelings. You feel happiness, sadness, love, discomfort, and more all at once. It is raw and real, like life.
Tara Couture, from @slowdownfarmstead, says it the best: “Something happens when we die. There is a moment when a spirit leaves. It’s not obscure. You can feel it, watch it happen. Call it what you will. Attribute it to what you will. I call it real and I call it peace.
We approach the harvest of every animal with solemnity, responsibility, and the deepest of gratitude. There is sadness and there is joy. There is discomfort and there is celebration. It is, as all the toughest of things are, the full richness of being. We could relieve ourselves of the hard parts by avoiding them, but all that we gain would be forever lost, too. Ease and comfort are sometimes the most expensive things of all.”
So, just remember, this holiday season, especially if it’s a hard one, that the feelings of discomfort and celebration together are okay. These are often the hardest parts of life we have to face, but they are also the ones in which we grow the most.
P.S. Don’t forget to support your local farmers, if you can, especially in regards to turkey and pigs. Those creatures lived far better lives than anything that was factory farmed.