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  • Writer's pictureRachel F

A Solemn Milestone

Six months ago, we knew what we were signing up for. Well....we thought we did. That's when we decided to bring home three hilarious, beautiful, and wriggly reddish pink Tamworth pigs. We love bacon, and I fell in love with taking care of pigs while working at Green Mountain Girls Farm. So, what could be better!?

This week, we followed through on a series of decisions that brought us into a new phase of our relationship with our creatures and this farming life. We prayed, we listened, asked permission, and then we slaughtered our two boys. There isn't a soft way to say it really, and it was equally soft and brutal. We talked to them, cried with them, and loved them every step of the way. This is exactly what we intended when we began walking out on this path that led us to this hillside community of life in Vermont: to live our lives with our eyes and hearts open to the relationships that sustain, challenge, and inform our lives.

The magnitude of what we engaged in is still sinking in to our hearts and bodies. But what Jonathan and I have talked about since that day, is gratitude. The immense gratitude for those two pigs, who graced and blessed our hillside, and now will bless our bodies. For our friend and mentor Carl Russel who was with us every step of the way, guiding, supporting, imagining, and encouraging. And for each other. As we sat together later that evening in a bit of a haze, we talked softly about the day - how it felt, how we will remember it, how it may be changing us. What is remarkable to me, is the gift of engaging in something as intimate as taking a life for food and being able to share that with a partner who can see the growing edges, the triumph, and the vulnerability all present before, during, and after the moment.

This being human: being conscious of the consequences to each action or inaction, is a process of awakening to the life that sustains, remakes, and blesses each of us. On Monday, we took a big step in being human. Engaging in an action that humans have done for millennia, and we saw in the most visceral way what our living means for others. Both in the dying, but also in the moments of life. Even as we went through the process of preparing each of the boys for the moment of death, they sought us out - leaning into our legs, looking for our hands. Because they knew that from us they would always receive honor, love, and care - from their first breath to their last.

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Erik Johansson
Erik Johansson
20 de abr. de 2022

These humbling words highlight rather than hide the tender paradoxes of raising beautiful animals for food. It opens me to a deeper appreciation of the custom of table blessings, and expands the idea that there can be prayers to sanctify every aspect of existence, Do you suppose that with every death there is a kind of residual self giving, "with us always"? Plumbing such questions seems to me a way of seeking integration with "all that is",

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