Here I am, four days after killing a turkey for the first time by slicing its throat with a knife that was sadly not that sharp. My first cut didn't go deep enough, and the next two cuts made me cringe with the feeling that I was torturing this poor, beautiful creature, as red blood poured from its neck onto the green grass.
At the beginning of this year, I had no idea that taking the life of a bird was something I was interested in doing whatsoever, but after spending many deeply fulfilling days with my girlfriend on her farm that is focused on ducks, goats, and turkeys, I have become a man involved in the stewardship of animal lives. For years my farm dream consisted of vegetables, and perhaps some chickens for eggs, and a cow for milk, theoretically in any case. But now I see that this web of life must include the animals in this whole ecstatic circle of life and death. We eat and we are eaten. The only certainty is that life will be born, and that it will die.
As I transition into a shared life with Khaiti and a new business, both involving the creation of a homestead and farm, I am excited about all the challenges and rewards ahead of me, and us. But there is always a small part of me that continues to reflect on the limits of our small lives, the tininess of our existence in this universe. But as I kneeled there on the ground next to our turkey dying on the ground, I couldn't help but reflect on the grandeur of any single life. The awareness and spark that drives the life force is something to be admired with open an heart. Compassoinate killing seems like such an oxymoron until you realize that in fact we all are born and we all die, and when we take on the agricultural stewardship of plants or animals, we take on responsibility for those two constants.
In a factory farm there seems to be almost no responsibility felt to respect the awesome spark of life in each being. It seems the bigger you get, the less time you have for the small things, and the small things are what make up the precious beauty of this world.
I want our farm to be focused on the small precious beauty of all life, and not ever get carried away with business fever, growth for it's own good, which is cancer. One healthy cell can generate thousands more healthy, and one feverish cell can spawn fast and poison the environment.
As a potential farmer bodhisattva, I want to liberate myself and all sentient being from delusion, and be a river through which enlightenment moves. Opening your heart is hard and it hurts sometimes but it is the only way, I believe, to true compassion. I am my own biggest project, but to be fearless and open is my goal.
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