My favorite book as a kid was Charlotte's Web by E.B.White. I read it every spring for years and each time I found myself hoping against hope that Wilbur would survive and Charlotte wouldn't die. Each time I read it I cried huge, heaving sobs at the end. Why did Charlotte have to die? Why did anyone have to die? It seemed so incredibly unfair, as death always is. What a beautiful story of unconditional love. It's a lesson we could all stand to revisit on a regular basis.
"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die... By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heavens knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
My obsession with Charlotte's Web caused me to secretly harbor the desire to have a pet pig, just like Wilbur. A sprampity, hoppity, sweet and snuggly little piggy who would be my best friend. When pot bellied pigs first started surging in popularity, I wanted one desperately. Lacking a house of my own, it was an impossibility. Yet still, I kept the dream alive.
Then a couple of years ago my sister-in-law (an emergency vet) told us about a wealthy local woman who passed away and had a huge collection of exotic animals in need of new homes. Two of them were pot bellied pigs. We have less than half of an acre, but we'd already been raising chickens and it's farm country here...so we thought maybe we could make it work. We went to see the pigs and instantly fell in love. That was that. We had their cottage moved on a flat bed truck and they've been living with us since. They aren't as sprampity or hoppity as I had imagined, but they're sweet and gentle creatures with distinct personalities and I love them dearly.
Because of this long standing love for pigs, it's surprising that I enjoyed bacon, scrapple, pork roll and sausage with such gleeful abandon even after Daisy and Amos moved to the property. We watched Food, Inc. recently. What a disturbing movie. It changed my life. I refuse to eat any meats that are not free range, grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free. I think the corporations that have co-opted every aspect of our food supply are the epitomy of evil. After watching the horrific manner in which hogs are slaughtered, I simply can not eat another pork product. I love pigs and although I am still okay with eating meat, I'm not okay with eating meat that has been raised and slaughtered with such total lack of reverence or compassion. We are far too removed from the origin of our food and it's a dangerous thing indeed.
I will not eat another pepperoni pizza. There. I've said it.
"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."