Owning The Circle of Life...

>>  Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's articles like this that always set me on edge... When you read the piece you will see the emotional disconnect of this 4H child as she sends away her "prize sheep" to become a "prize carcass".  And the story is always the same... 4H instructors and parents will say it teaches lessons on the circle of life.  

I have a few suggestions instead... Have the child rescue a few ten-cent "feeder fish" - Put them in a tank... Care for them... And watch them live. Within a bit of time, one will struggle to swim.  It will float to the top...  The child will see the desperate way life tries to hold on... And she will understand too that it's the same fight we all eventually loose.  

Have the child volunteer to read at a hospice... Have her sit with the elderly to hear their stories told, perhaps for the last time...  

Or, have the child adopt a puppy/dog, cat or kitten as we did almost 12 years ago...

My husband and I were at a flea market in North Florida when 3 kids holding 2 litters of kittens approached us with "Wanna kitten?"  They were a raggedy bunch of kids and the kittens were even worse... Matted, skinny and sickly --- But despite the cloudiness in his eyes we picked the fluffy white one with the very tiny ears.  By the time we journeyed two hours back home he had a name: Touché... And we also realized Touché had a horrible flea infestation.

We tried the immediate fixes... A bath, flea powder... A collar - I'd take him to the vet first thing on Monday for shots and so on.  Well, by Sunday night his health was in dire jeopardy. He had diarrhea, difficulty breathing and even standing was an effort.  This kitty was sick.

The vet's diagnose wasn't good at all... Flea anemia was a threat to his very tiny body. Beyond transfusions, antibiotics and other measures, I was told his survival would be critical unless he stayed hydrated and fed.  So for 10 days every two hours I gave him fluids through an eye dropper and I forced food down his throat. I was not going to let this little fluff ball succumb to the unlucky break of any "disease"!  

Well, Touché had the same idea - Within 3 weeks time he was given a clean bill of health... And I was given a $680 bill from the vet.  My husband and I joked about our "free" $600 kitten ever since.

And so Touché has lived a good life... He did his share of stalking in the woods, climbing trees, chasing butterflies, sunbathing, getting dozens of sticker-burrs in his silken hair... and slow-dancing with me... Always with the raspy voice - so odd for the delicate looking feline that he was.  Fur as soft as anything you could imagine - I always thought "Touche' la bouché" belonged in a penthouse with velvet and satin pillows... Such a fancy guy with his long pantaloons and tufts of silver-fur between his toes...  Premier biscuit maker... 
God I miss him!

Touché stopped eating a few days ago - A trip to the vet revealed advanced stomach cancer that mastetized to his kidneys.  We let him die in his own home with the comfort of his family around him.  A few hours ago we laid his body next to his beloved dog-friend Midas, and Houdini his tiger-striped companion who passed two years ago. 

Now - Let the people who breed flesh for profit understand this: This is the circle of life! To experience an enriched existence, to love and be loved, to witness the changing of seasons, the feel of frost and the radiance of the sun.  To know the trials of age... Slowing down... And relaxing in contentment in a safe, time-worn peaceful spot till it's your forever memory.  This full life does not have an ending that is orchestrated for convenience or profit.  It isn't arranged according to grain costs or market weight.  And it isn't met by some stranger on a blood stained kill-floor!

The loss of this special someone is also felt deeply by family... It is not scuffed off by "excuses" that "you can't keep them all"... While you breed the next batch of commodity-victims to weep for.  That pseudo sympathy decorates big-lie Crocodile tears!  And I'm calling you on it!

No one learns the circle of life by sending babies off to their death.  Those who make a living by doing such, or pay others to do so, ought to own what it's called: The circle of killing.  

Rest in Peace Touche' - You were an exceptional friend...  And as sad as it is that you're gone... I'm honored to have shared your world with you. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Goodbye buddy. :(



veganelder October 19, 2011 at 4:06 AM  

Bye Touche', I never met you and that was my loss...fare well.

Thanks for writing about the true circle of life...

That stuff the propagandizers and exploiters spout is not about the circle of life...it is about stealing from other living beings that which belongs to them. It is the circle of death and destruction. It is about excusing atrocities and denying evil.

Caring for living beings, that's what the circle of life is about.

CQ October 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM  

The "team" of blogger B.E. and commenter V.E. seems to always say everything that needs saying.

My heartfelt hugs go out to the humans and nonhumans who have been the devoted family of Touche lo these 16 loving years.

I join V.E. in telling Touche' to fare well on his journey through the next stage in the circle of life, which expresses itself as infinite patience, eternal affection, forever caring. Yes, the circle of life is the opposite of taking from another; it is all about giving endlessly to one another.

Touche' is beautiful, by the way. Thank you so much, Bea, for sharing his beautiful outer self with us, and, even more special, his beautiful inner self.

V.E. mentions "denying evil." Just yesterday, the phrase "banality of evil" came to mind, in relation to this radio program: www.equaltimeradio.com (the October 17th program is titled "Our Relationship to the Meat We Eat").

Here's how the expression "banality of evil" came into being and what it means, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banality_of_evil:

"Banality of evil is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt and incorporated in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.

"It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.

"Explaining this phenomenon, Edward S. Herman has emphasized the importance of 'normalizing the unthinkable.' According to him, 'doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on normalization. This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as the way things are done.'"

Thank goodness Touche' has lived in a household where love is the norm, where evil doesn't stand a chance of becoming commonplace.

Bea Elliott October 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM  

Hi VE - Yeah... That particular article really laid it on thick. I re-read it several times and when I get to the part about showing sheep is a "cut throat" contest it just gags me every time! And then that these babies are sold after 11 months and claiming that the experience teaches "reality". Ugh! The timing of reading that piece really disgusted me...

I'd like you to know that many times when I stroked Touche' - Lapin came to mind! So, so soft! And so was his demeanor - He wasn't a demanding cat... Just liked to be close in a nearby chair or asleep in a cozy spot in the room you were in.

He was a riot at times though when he'd run about the house with our tile/tarrazo floors. Just like a rabbit that has difficulty getting a grip on corners he'd slide everywhere! Then in a dignified way, lick his paw and calmly relay "I meant to do that you know!" He was something else... You would have liked him lots and vice versa. Please give a bunny-hug to a special furry in memory of him - Thanks! <3

Bea Elliott October 19, 2011 at 3:04 PM  

Yes CQ - Touche' was physicall beautiful as well... Although I can only recollect "ugly" critters as the ones manipulated by man - Either through intent or neglect. Saddest are those pug-nose dogs that can't breath right... I always feel so terrible for them.

That is so true on the Banality of Evil - That's exactly what these 4H groups and all animal exploiters do! They normalize the unthinkable cruelty so it looks like no big deal! It reminds me of this recent post on This Vegan Life in case you haven't seen it: http://www.thisveganlife.org/we-cant-see-the-truth-through-rose-colored-gl

It all falls in with the states of denial that we refuse to admit because it requires that we do something to rectify it. Forbid the thought that we should rock the boat on 10,000 years of rubbish! Or hamper a $700 "profit" as the girl in this article was so pleased to have stolen. Grrrr!

I appreciate your kind thoughts about Touche'. He was often my typing partner - laying on the corner of my desk, I'd struggle for a word or phrase - and then looking into his deep blue eyes always gave me a clue... "Speak truth". His presence will never be far away - Thanks.

Anonymous October 19, 2011 at 10:49 PM  

This is a very beautiful post and a great message. Thank you!

Bea Elliott October 28, 2011 at 6:34 AM  

Debbie - I'm glad you found some worthwhile meaning in what feelings and thoughts I expressed.

I don't think Touche' would have minded at all using his life and passing as a vehicle to tell the story of other lives too.

Thanks for listening! <3