Between Christmas and New Year, foul weather, an ill walking partner and a crazy holiday schedule found me out walking mid-afternoon rather than my usual 6 AM. I happened upon our neighbor who was in the process of moving his small herd of cows onto our field. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement, our weeds are kept down and he saves on feed costs.
Our neighbor is a quiet man of the land. I commented on a new calf that looked less than a week old. He beamed. He had witnessed the birth and clearly he'd bonded with this cute mini version of cow. I asked him if it was difficult to slaughter animals he was fond of. After a long quiet moment he said, "Yes it is. It's very difficult." Another pause and then he added that it may sound strange, but he experiences real reverence for his animals and was deeply grateful for every bit of meat they provide. He went on to say that he never wastes any meat, that it is too precious. He knew their sacrifice. And I'd add that he takes very good care of his herd.
His words have stuck with me. This quiet modest man is experiencing realness. I often think about what he said, much more often than I would have guessed. The words were a gift.
It's easy for life to get bombarded by static, especially these days of short news cycles and opinions flying through the media from all directions. But now the static doesn't have the same impact on me. My neighbor helped me see a slice of calmness that I'm reminded of every time I look out my kitchen window down to the lower field to a few loved cows.
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