Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Slowing Down and Watching the Insects
Sometimes it is hard to see what we have in common with other humans and it's even more difficult to notice what we have in common with other species.
Last week while I was at Sasha Farm to speak at their annual banquet, I got to witness something that opened my heart up even further to the non-human animals. I woke up in the morning and the 7 rescued cows outside the window were all watching the sky. The clouds opened up a bit and there was a small patch of sun on a little hill in the distance. They moved toward it in unison and when they arrived at the spot, they all laid down next to each other and tipped their faces toward the sun. Seeking comfort and not wanting to suffer is something all beings have in common. These are fellow mammals and even then, it is difficult for most people to make the changes necessary to not exploit them and cause them needless suffering.
We are still at our solar rv spot in Arizona. Young calves have been branded and released to graze in the public land around us. I have heard dozens of people express sadness at how forlorn these young calves seem and how little there is for them to eat (let alone drink) in this dry sparse desert. The same people who are expressing this kind of compassion and concern are eating beef everyday. One 16 year old Canadian boy said to me yesterday, "I could never be vegetarian, I love that Alberta beef too much." The same boy practically melts at the sight of a cat or dog, he loves them so much. When I asked if he loves that taste more than he loves animals, he said "I guess so." How can we slow our lives down enough to connect with each other and other species on a deeper level? I am so busy that I have not taken the time to connect much with this boy. That might make a difference.
A couple here in the park who dove fully into the vegan world about a month ago, shared something with me yesterday. When we first met J and L, we told them we were vegan. When we left their place, J said to L, "Well, we will never be friends with them, they think they are better than us." The reality is that whenever people learn that someone doesn't drink or eat animals products, they assume that the person is self righteous. How can we make it any clearer? How can we let folks know that we don't care which human is better than another....we just want people to care enough about other species that they don't torture them for entertainment, food, clothing, product testing, etc. We do not go around thinking we are better than anyone else. We simply want to be a voice for those without a voice in society. I know that if I am in a hurry, I may share my choices in a less mindful way. I need to slow down more. And I wonder if there was anything I really could have said that would have given them a different first impression.
When I simplify life and slow down enough to watch insects, I know I am doing something right in my life. When I slow down, I am a better communicator and I see more of what is around me.
This true slowing down doesn't happen often enough. You may remember in another blog I talked about the dung beetle in Florida who created a backpack out of a dry leaf so he could carry more manure. He piled the leaf high with manure and then dug himself under the leaf and trotted off. Brilliant.
A Sonoran Tiger Beetle fell into our water bucket outside the other day. I didn't know if he was dead or not by the time I noticed him. I gently scooped him up and placed him on a piece of dry wood. Then I watched the most graceful drying off dance I have ever seen. He tipped his head from right to left slowly and dried himself with one arm and then the other. He gently stroked each of his wings. I couldn't stop watching this amazing dance. Even the smallest of the creatures around us wants to survive and does not want to suffer needlessly. Eventually, after about 15 minutes of self pampering, he flew off. I know, I know....I said I was too busy to connect with the Canadian boy, but I made time for the beetle.