Friday, February 19, 2010

Hunter's Moon-Eating the Bear

...Good friend,

when I crouch beside the blades of fire,

holding a piece of your life on a knife-tip,

I will be leaning in like a spoke to the hub-

the dense orb that is all of us.

my body like a cupped hand...

...holding your vast power, your grace

...your breath, your hairiness,... the small sinews of my prayers.

some invisible dead-center

Here is Mary telling us an answer once again to THE questions: What is the meaning of life? Of death? Death is the center of us all. We are here to eat and be eaten.

I know this most strongly in the animal flesh I have eaten over a fire in the woods by gentle streams, or on a beach near ocean's black night. These waters flow into one as I take into my body the precious fish, a vow of union if ever there was. I love fish! I love to swim with them, look at them, catch them, eat them, be them. In the movie, "Lord of the Rings" when Gollum goes fishing he takes the flopping fish in his hands and prays, "my precious, my precious," and then proceeds to whack the head of a fish against a rock. Being largely vegan these days, my heart swells with joy and wonder with the thought of life as food. The trick is to see my own self as food.

On my wedding day when I gave promises to my spouse Meredith, we celebrated the union with a poem he had mostly written:

Our Whole Lives (OWL)

The owl has special wing feathers that quiet its flight,

So the prey never detects the predator.

One noiseless flap, two, and the small mammal is caught.

As out of the soul's dark night, love is suddenly there, upon us:

Talons and beak.

We succumb,

And turn our bodies over to the nourishment of a grander thing.

In my death, in my ego death and the seepage of my bones into the earth, is my prayer to earth and all her beings.

What foods bring meaning of life and death to you?

1 comment:

  1. My father was a fisherman. I had the experience of watching him kill his catch and 'clean' them. My first lessons of biology came with my curious, "What's that?". I ate the fish without a second thought about ending it's life to sustain mine.

    The only other experience with direct life to plate was at my grandmother's house. She raised chickens. The chicks in the spring were fun to play with. The eggs were the best because they were fresh. When it came time to kill a chicken to put meat on the table my grandmother could not do the killing. After all she had talked to them all summer even naming some of them. She claimed it was a man's job to kill a chicken. As children we were not allowed to watch. But there was a special segment of a tree trunk behind the shed on which the chicken's neck was laid to meet it's fate with the axe. I would go and study it carefully. The blood from many encounters had seeped into the porous block of wood making the log's rings more visable as well as the lines where the stroke of the ax hit the wood. Sometimes my aunts would comment on the tenderness or toughness of the selected chicken as we ate it at the table. A discussion ensued about whether it was from last year's batch or this year's.

    I, too, have difficulty seeing myself as food. Maybe this is why funeral homes use chemicals to prevent this from happening at least for years. What respectable grub of ant would eat such flesh. I think of Haiti where there were so many people killed that they had to use mass graves. What animals may have really had a feast? Vultures? Wolves? Dogs? Roachs flies, mosquitoes, and other insects?