Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nestor's Pond, Dec. 1937


It takes a killing heart to get done what needs doing in this world.


That's no secret.


My wife is a clean-eating vegan.

I am yet an omnivore.

Nor am I likely to leave off eating my fellow creatures. I understand the objections to it, I really do. They make a kind of sense, and there is no doubt the intention behind that decision is a good one, a truly enlightened attempt to keep some of the suffering at bay.


I guess that I just don't think keeping the suffering at bay is my path. I don't want to indulge in it, or bring about more than is necessary, but for me I feel I have to engage in it. Wade into it. Lean into it.

We are inextricably bound to flesh, and death is what flesh is made of.


We are so deeply flawed. Our consciousness is so spanking new, from an evolutionary standpoint, that it is still in its infancy. Our understanding is provisional, our provisions but few.

It gives me a sense of the futility of any good act. I spend my professional life wading hip deep into the fast moving waters of human stupidity and vileness, but I'm under no illusions that what I do matters in the big scheme of things. I have some small, intimate moments of grace, but they are, even on my tiny scale, easily and regularly overwhelmed by failure, despair, and rottenness. It doesn't excuse me from the need to keep doing what I can, but it is important, I believe, to keep that knowledge close at hand.

Maybe in a thousand years we'll have grown up a little.

But I doubt it.

My guess is that we are pretty much the same as we were two or three hundred thousand years ago, and not much different from how we were two or three million years ago. Screaming, hitting each other with stones and pointed sticks, stealing meat from our friends when no one was looking, fucking anyone we could hold down long enough to complete the act, lying our asses off, blaming others, running away.

And, yes, grooming each other, picking off ticks and fleas, tending wounds, giving water, bouncing babies on our knees, throwing ourselves in the path of onrushing Mastodons to save our crippled brothers.


So, I cook dead animals over a fire and eat them.


The taste delicious, and I am grateful to them for what I have taken from them. I know they mind. I know they are not going to slaughter with glad hearts.

I eat them anyway.


If there is a way to get through this life without blood on my hands I lost it long ago.





Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Every thing I read of yours, there is a part of me which says, "Well yes. Exactly. He knows just how I feel about it." How can this be? You say what I feel with your words which come from your mind which was formed from your experience, your DNA, your heart.
How can this be?
I don't think we've changed either. Not getting any better, hopefully not getting any worse.
The cave drawings at Lascaux whisper that truth to me. We are holy and we are vile. We are glory and we are damned.
We are human. Animals. We kill and create.
Thank-you for writing.

9:54 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

We are holy and we are vile. We are glory and we are damned.

Amen, sister.

Thank you for everything.



2:21 PM  
Blogger Petit fleur said...

Dear T,

I am the omni in my fam, and my hub is the veggie man. I don't like to handle dead things, but I will cook and eat them if there isn't any "cleaning" involved...

I like the photo.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

There is nothing new under the sun. All is vanity.

(My favorite book of the Bible, and it's not a book that I'm particularly partial to, except for this...)

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

connor told me a week ago how he "sort of" wished he'd stop eating meat because he felt "funny" about it sometimes.

then he said, "but i really love bacon."


also, this post is just awesome.

3:48 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Petit Fleur-


3:53 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Nothing new indeed. I'm the farthest thing from a Christian, but I love the bible. It's full of all the horror and beauty any man could wish for.

Good to see you here again.



3:54 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Dottie Bones-

Yeah, fuckin' bacon. That's the vegetarian deal breaker for me too.

And of course he feels funny about eating meat. He's your sweet son. I feel funny about it, too.

I'm so glad you and I are friends.



3:56 PM  
Blogger Craig Sorensen said...

I'm an omnivore too. I love some meat, and wouldn't likely give it up.

Do I think about the pros and cons of my choice of diet?


We, as a society, definitely still carry some youthful stupidity, but I do think we have grown some.

Yes, sometimes it is painted on; peel away the politeness of our very carefully crafted order and the animal comes back out. Watch what happens after a natural disaster or give a mob and excuse to hate, and see where it goes from there.

Order can be so easily unraveled.

In your line of work, I imagine you're more privy to this than I am.

So maybe that's why I feel we have done some growing. Every hundred years or so we get a revelation and make a turn for the better.

But then, every twenty years or less we seem to get ourselves back into war.

I don't know. I started this reply thinking I had something intelligent to write, but in the end it seems I'm going back and forth, saying very little.

So I'll leave it at that.

But I am definitely all about cooking dead animals over fire.

I can be decisive about that.

6:33 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I think you're right. We veer between the better angels of our nature and our most beastly selves. Over and over again.

We're not just one thing or the other.

Pass them ribs over here!



7:40 AM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Bacon- The vegetarian's favorite meat.

4:47 PM  
Blogger T. said...

We love to fool ourselves into believing in our own idealized evolution; a by-product, I think, of Christian thought.

Thank-you for expressing this so clearly and with so much grace.

7:53 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Ms. Moon-

Yes, indeedy.

T. Clear-

It's easy to believe that we are at the pinnacle of the long march through the slime to our grand and wonderful selves.

As long as you don't look too closely.




6:02 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home