It's that time of year again, where things not entirely in my taste happen on our farm. It's slaughtering time, and this week four male lambs and two pigs have gone from being fed to becoming food. I have not eaten meat for twenty years or so, and still find it strange and curious how anyone would want to eat a being that they once knew (or any being, for that matter). I have asked my husband and other people about this, and the answer is always: When it's dead and cut up, it becomes meat, a general thing, a pork chop like any other pork chop, a leg of any lamb, a slice of any animal. It goes from being an individual - Jon Hamm or Kevin Bacon (I am referring to our pigs here, not the actors), to a generic mass, ok to be processed for food. It's strange and very interesting to see the transformation from living to dead, and how obvious it is that the spirit that once inhabited that body has travelled elsewhere.
Which leads me over to something else I thought about today: How can I explain the concept of soul to Freja? She wonders a lot about death and dying and what happens after and what about the body and where do we go - and we try to explain and talk about it in ways that will make her feel less worried, without covering too much up either. Tricky balance! We tell her that when we die, we simply go back to where we came from, that we return to being a star in the sky. And when the time is right, we will come down to earth again. This seems to make her less fearful, but then the big question of the body arises. Of course she knows that people (and animals) are buried in the ground, and she is very much acquainted with the process of composting, being a farm kid, but it's difficult for her to accept the fact that she will also go that way. So I have introduced the soul. And how does one explain what the soul is to a four year old person? (When one doesn't even know it themselves?) I'm still laughing at my own allegory from earlier on today: It's like an egg! Your body is the egg shells that stay on earth, and you soul is the...yolk. And the yolk flies up to the sky. Ok, not great. She just looked at me with a weird look in her face. A friend of us (she's nine) said it better: The soul is your thoughts, your feelings, everything that is you. I guess I'll settle for that, for now.
Note: If you're wondering about my thoughts on being a veggie and also a farmer, read this post from last year - it explains my thoughts on the subject. And yes; our animals are slaughtered in the most humane way possible, free of any stress (for them), only a few metres away from where they graze and live.