Monday, November 30, 2009

372: the end of meat

There have been a few things leading up to it: first, my body decided it. I respect and trust my body.

Second, I got a tattoo. I spent seven hours with some of my favorite vegans; when I came home, I confessed to Ryan: "Well..." And he said, "You are not becoming vegan."

Oh. Oh, no.

But: I'd been debating it by then though. Not veganism, not when I love milk-and-cheese-and-wool-and-honey, but stopping the meat again.

And there it was, a little something, a particle of something, a something that niggled and now, I'm taking that plunge, with more thought than I did for my first venture.

There are thirds and fourths and fifths and so much else influencing me:

:: Food, Inc.

:: Jonathan Safran Foer's new book.

:: The considerations of No Impact Week.

:: But most of all, last night, when we went for our last visit of my grandmother in the nursing home. The four of us piled into the car, Mom and Dad up front, and my grandmother's white kitty between us (oh, and: interesting dream, if you haven't read it), Ryan and I poking our fingers through the bars, cooing, calming, and suddenly there is that metallic sound, that crunch that is car-upon-something-big, something-frighteningly-big, and it wasn't my father rear-ending someone, but instead that slam that-is-a-body. My father has bagged his third deer, each roadside creatures, and this one, leaving that gritty red-upon-red, those quill-hairs in miniature, something that looks like an organ-bit or something-fatty. I sat still for so long, my fingers pressed against my mouth, my mother fretting over the trip back home (flat tires, radiator fluid leaking, what-could-it-be?) and the cat, silent, a few mewls from her kennel. My mother confessed: "If we were in Wisconsin, that deer would be yours" after the pondering of what might happen to the body.

Fortunately for my father, just around the corner of his home is the Wildlife Sanctuary, and he can make some kind of karmic retribution.

I hate to admit this, but I'm glad, of the four of us, that it was my father who hit the deer: he has the right distance from me for me to not feel the hot shame (Ryan), he feels the right level of guilt (me: I'd spiral out of control in sorrow) balanced with the right level of nervousness at the car's ability to get its passengers to the nursing home (my mother kept repeating her hyperbolic fears--whatifwhatifwhatif!)--but my father, my poor father, who has now hit three deer in his life (this is the second from visiting his parents), who hasn't wanted to hit any--he knows how beautiful these creatures are and how good it is to contentedly drive a hanging-in-there car--

Can I now? The biggest images will haunt me: the chicken whose breasts are too-heavy to hold the bird upright, the cow whose hind legs couldn't hold it upright, the chicks separated so aggressively, and now, the sound of the thunk of bumper-on-deer.


Meryl said...

Whoot! Whoot! Welcome to the dark side me dear.

It's funny, I don't remember us talking about food at all during the tattoo... but maybe we did? I hope Ryan doesn't think we were out to convert you, missionary work is not our bag.

But very happy to have your company on the vegetable section of the menu. Hope you and Ryan find some meal-sharing ideas that work for both palettes.

Molly said...

We didn't talk about food at all, actually. :) But I mark that as when I began wavering, and I admire you two, plus CC, plus all others who make that conscious choice. I had been used to being an anomaly among friends; everyone else straight-up ate meat (though Kelly isn't technically a vegetarian, she is a little quirky about her chicken, which is the only meat she'll eat, and she refuses to eat it if it has bones). I think remembering the lifestyle when I spent all that time with the two of you made me realize it was just as practical to not eat meat--in fact, more so. I was jealous of your easy ability to identify a tricky palate; it was time for mine to return, but it took some time to really decide it.

Now I have two cans of chicken soup and some fish in the freezer--if nothing else, the dogs will have extravagant treats!