Someone I know observed a bit of nature close up a while ago…one creature of the Peaceable Kingdom capturing and swallowing whole another one, this swallowing was done after a decent period of playful softening up. Dinner needed I suppose a bit of persuasion to become just that, and tenderizing of course. One wonders if that was how the word “cuisine” entered the languages of man.
On this occasion, to be sure, there was no human being, nor nothing near human in the Great Chain of Being involved in the capture, preparation and consumption of the meal. Nonetheless, there are those, and quite a few of them, who will assert on behalf of such a captor as this one abilities quite on the same level of language and the development of taste as we have until recently thought our own and only ours.
How silly of us not to expect a camel capable of poetry, a mongoose of music, a horseshoe crab of math — and thus not to look forward to enjoying their society as we might the company of good and jolly friends.
The scene above caused my friend to exclaim about it afterward to a small group of educated discerning adults— the broad daylight in which it occurred, the boldness of the act and the unconcerned presence of two other wild things only a few conspicuous and plainly visible yards from the main event which, itself, took place within spitting distance of our observer. Finally, as dinner gave a last flip of its tail before disappearing to dissolve into its constituent molecules inside its, umm, host, it occurred to my friend what an uneasy feeling such a thing might produce inside, before death finally won out, and it succumbed to the necessities of life that cause it.
My friend, ignorant of the subtleties, was merely referring to one creature’s final wrigglings in the belly of the beast, and not to the victor’s conscience.
In any event, as I said, the tale bursting to be told was told at this very first opportunity afterward among some others, one of whom, an extremely kind and gentle person, was seen to shudder visibly at its rawness, commenting what a terrible thing it would be to die in such a way and wondering aloud at the order in nature which requires of one creature that it cause the death of another so it may continue to live.
It could be another way one hears this one saying. It should be in a perfect world where all are equally respected and murder is the repellent deprivation of the right to life, liberty and etc. not only for us who can think but for all creatures, great and small.
Good St. Isaiah pray for us!
I once worked with a person like the one above, who shuddered; another very gentle person. She was a member of PETA and would not hear of the things we humans do to other creatures that we may keep body and soul together. “I will eat nothing that has a face,” she once told me. “Oysters, then?” I asked one day after having worked my way through most of the animal kingdom to an unwavering resounding “No.” But, even without faces, oysters were out. Or, in… Anyway, oysters, pussycats and such were all equally allowed the right to enjoy whatever it is that we humans have been endowed with. Of this my co-worker was as certain as I am that oysters are definitely worth eating — raw, fried or Rockefellered.
One fine day I asked this co-worker whether or not she felt as strongly about saving little humans as she did about saving little kittens. Though it was all of twenty years ago I remember her reply clearly. “I have only enough energy for one cause at a time.” It was as clever a non-answer as any Kennedy or Cuomo ever gave. She once told me that she would have a hard time deciding whether or not to rescue all of her nine pussycats or her one daughter should a deadly fire strike her house. I thought seriously about making her a gift of a home sprinkler system for the poor child.
I am quite frankly puzzled by the way such people think. My former co-worker could not bear to think of steak without choking up, no pun intended. The person who was so horrified at the story about dinner al fresco worked for a number of years in the “reproductive health” industry, for one of those entities whose chief work is promoting something called “reproductive freedom” through, among other things, advocacy of “reproductive rights” which is most often accomplished through the termination of the “reproductive process”. We need not consider how that sometimes is accomplished, or what it always means.
In the conversation following on the episode of epicurean brutality my friend witnessed, mention was made of this fact, and the necessity for it, the justification of it founded in the desire to ease pain in someone. Compassion, it seems, is the saving and sole reason for “reproductive health” in the eyes of those who practice and support the industry.
“I could never kill anyone,” said the Shudderer while telling a story about a former co-worker, a mother of two grown children. The co-worker in this instance held a very responsible and active position in a “reproductive health” facility whose primary business was, well, you know. This mother was proud of the people her two grown children had become. Especially proud was she of the daughter conceived by a rape at the age of fourteen or so who had become, herself, a loving and well rounded person.
As I heard of this, I shuddered.