I was speaking to someone last night who had planned for her night’s entertainment – plucking a duck. The unfortunate creature was one of ‘the girls’ as her little boy named them and had been producing eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner in copious amounts. However for several reasons she was destined for the table. The acceptance of this woman and her son for the fate of one of their farmyard beings was along the lines of ‘this is the natural order of things’.
For me however, it is a different story. I go to whichever local shop is in favour and purchase my food, already killed, plucked, gutted and hung. I was an adult before I realised that cows had to have been pregnant to produce milk (and I was a midwife at that point). My city type of life had not really educated or indeed prepared me for the reality of how our foods arrive in our home. So I became a big softy, cringing at the death of the goldfish and crying for a year when I lost my beloved McCafferty, an grumpy old cat.
That young boy however reacted to my expression of sympathy about his duck with a comment about how good his dinner would be and a lick of his salivating lips.
In a time when there is so much waste because of our shopping practices, I was hit hard by how poorly I had been prepared by my own education to survive. I had never been taught how to grow things or to know what was natural to my own environment. Most of my food arrived wrapped in cling film and polystyrene, contributing to the disturbing fact that man’s pollution is overrunning our world.
This little boy and his mother have reminded me of some of the valuable lessons we need to teach our children. The practice of them and not just the theory. So that our descendants are able to survive, no matter what their income.