DAY 395 (penultimate blog): SOME TRUTHS HIT HOME
It’s a curious sensation to be standing in Sainsbury’s holding a vast leg of pork and feeling desperately sad. It feels pathetic.
Maybe it’s the green slime in my system.
For the last five days I’ve been doing a juice detox in prep for my wedding.
Even though I have been promised that this diet would be ‘all the gain with none of the pain’ I receive pre-written emails each morning from the company that supplied the green slime saying things like ‘Today you will feel awful and all your emotions will wash out of you. Be sure to have some one to care for you’
But until today I didn’t feel too awful. But then the sadness came.
Was it the slime? Or was it the end of this year long project?
Here I was checking the labels on all this meat. It so utterly normal to be in these air-conditioned aisles with so many people quietly going about their shopping. The hum of conversation, the occasional squeak of a rusty trolley wheel.
And yet I was surrounded by row upon row of the very animals I had been trying to relate to for these past months. The LACK of drama made it all so dramatic. Pound upon pound of flesh, quietly lying before me, neatly packaged and carefully arranged.
These cold shelves marked an end. An end not only to my year long journey. but also to the lives of so, so many.
Since the beginning of my year, 60 billion animals have been slaughtered, dismembered and packed and readied for consumption, many headed for shelves in shops around the world similar to this. And the people who were purchasing the meat, no doubt many of them considerate, caring people – were lifting the flesh off this invisible finishing line and leaving both the shelves and me empty.
What had I been doing this year for, I wondered?
I cycled home in the rain. Summer was over. It was icy cold. Winter was fast on the heals of a very brief autumn. I got back home drenched and saw Ann. The dogs greeted me and I sat in the kitchen.
I then paused and started to cry properly. Not intense crying but slow tears that came from somewhere without words. I felt exhausted. Not just a physical tiredness but something I can’t quite explain.
I suppose I had finished this year without fully allowing all the death and horror and speed and confusion to catch up with me. And now, after having stood amongst shelves of food, it did so.
No doubt more will come.
I wondered if this was a sort of mourning. That was guilt in there too.
In the mundanity of life, death finds us. And in that supermarket on that cold day, the voices of so many animals, only a tiny fraction of whom I had heard on my journey, sang in silent harmony. Those clean white shelves were transformed into an anonymous graveyard of so many ghosts. Where before I seen the eyes of living creatures I now saw their body parts and the connection between one and the other – the conection that we do so well to ignore and deny in our everyday life – was made fully felt.
This is why it is so hard to ‘only connect’. With connection comes feeling and with feeling comes pain.