Sunday, November 02, 2008

season of the dead.

i celebrated my first halloween on the farm. i bought candy, carved a pumpkin, dressed up myself and the dogs, lit a candelabra full of long orange tapered candles, and waited for trick or treaters. i knew it would be a stretch expecting anyone to venture out to our little farm by way of our dark and practically hidden driveway on the outskirts of town. but we did manage to attract one brave family... a boy pirate and his baby pumpkin sister. they ventured up to our doorstep and i rewarded them with handfuls of chocolate. although, the pirate came unprepared. no trick. he made a last minute attempt at a joke after receiving his bounty. but it wasn't really funny. it was a tad profane, actually. leaving his mom and i bewildered. kids these days.

this weekend is also all saints day, all souls day, Día de los Muertos. as i sit with a wilting jack o'lantern and a basketful of leftover individually wrapped morsels of sugar-coated evil, i am surrounded by falling leaves, browning grass, dying crickets, spiders crawling into every crevice of our home desperately trying to stay warm, and very large, restless and hungry livestock. it occurs to me this must be why folks celebrate these holidays in autumn. it is a time to die. plants die. bugs die. and sadly... livestock die. our pigs, cows, and turkeys have grown big and strong on fresh grass, vegetables, bugs, and sunshine all summer long. the pasture is dying. their days are numbered. their purpose, in this life, is to feed our family. as a born & raised city girl, i am having a hard time with this concept. meat always just came from the store in neat little plastic-covered packages. not from my backyard.

so, by coincidence or maybe in a subconscious celebration of the day of the dead , we harvested our first animal yesterday... a rooster that my father-in-law raised and gave us to eat. i don't feel like going into great detail... but it was done in what we feel was a humane way. i cried a lot. it was a hard day for us.

at dinner jason read this quote from kahlil gibran (which is also mentioned in the book "animal, vegetable, miracle" by barbara kingsolver):

"When you kill a beast, say to him in your heart: By the same power that slays you, I too am slain, and I too shall be consumed. For the law that delivers you into my hand shall deliver me into a mightier hand. Your blood and my blood is naught but the sap that feeds the tree of heaven."

we ate dinner by candle light. curry chicken with vegetables and basmati rice which we shared with the dogs. and acknowledged a page in our lives turning.

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