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NOT DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY
November 1, 2007
 
I thought that was a tail I saw, disappearing into a group of potted plants in the bay window. Sure enough: in a moment, I found myself face to face with the other end of a little field mouse. Now is the time of year when they head inside, if they can, to find a nice corner behind a wall in which to spend the winter. He stood on the window sill and we looked at each other for a moment or two, while Ben walked back and forth between my feet, asking me plaintive questions about his breakfast.

Well, you could catch this mouse, I told him. He made no reply.

I couldn't believe it. Here was a nice mouse, all but delivered to his breakfast plate, and Ben took no notice. I picked him up and put him in the sink, where he could see the window and the mouse. The mouse beat a hasty retreat, but Ben showed no interest. Whatever happened to the thrill of the chase? I asked him. He asked if there was any Fancy Feast left.

Cats today are certainly not what they were.

But neither are we. In America, almost everything we eat is made of corn in some form, much of it high fructose corn syrup that makes almost all American food slightly sweet. Animals who don't ordinarily eat corn -- even fish! -- have been bred to subsist on it. Land upon which animals used to graze on grass has been turned to cornfield after cornfield, and the animals themselves live their entire lives in a pen or a box. They die without ever having set foot upon a patch of grass. This makes them weak and vulnerable to disease, so they are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones. We ingest these substances when we eat their meat.

There are farmers who do things differently, and there will be more of them if the consumer insists on it. So Q and I will be making some changes. Little by little, we will move away from participation in this artificial and estranged way of feeding ourselves. We will stop eating raspberries in January. We'll diversify the vegetables we grow. We will look at labels and see where the food we buy comes from, and we'll buy something else for supper if it's traveled too far. It will be slightly inconvenient at first, but we'll get used to it. There was a time, not so long ago, when everyone lived that way.

The mouse was cute. But, with four cats in the house, we really shouldn't have a mouse.
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Perhaps you can tell that I've just read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. It's going into the Farm's bookstore as soon as Matt the Web Dude can get it there, and I urge you to read it and mark it well. You might also take a look at what the Community of the Holy Spirit is doing at its Bluestone Farm in Brewster, NY, where "The Future of Food" is discussed and lived intentionally. You can even join the sisters for a fireside chat about sustainable agriculture on December 23rd. http://www.chssisters.org/chs_009.htm
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Today: Geranium Journey continues: Barbara Crafton and Deacon J travel to Oyster Bay for lunch and conversation at noon on this Feast of All Saints. Telephone (516) 922-6377 or visit http://www.christchurchobay.org/directions2.htm for directions.
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Saturday: A Quiet Day with Barbara Crafton at St. Luke's, Metuchen NJ. (732)-548-4308, ext.10. And Deacon J will be leading a retreat at Christ Church in Jordan, NY. (315) 689-3141.
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Coming Up: A Sabbath for Sabbath Workers at Holy Cross Monastery, in West Park, NY, November 26-28.Sundays, especially the Sundays of Advent, are a time of rest and reflection, a time for soulful regeneration... except for those who preach, preside, make music, teach Sunday School or otherwise make Sunday run on time. Lay or ordained, if you normally work your butt off to make sure that everyone else gets a Sabbath - this is a retreat for you. www.hcmnet.org.
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