It’s been a long week and I came home and passed out for a couple of hours. I dreamed of fishing with my grandfather. Yeah I know, strange topic for a vegan blog, but stay with me.
This is one of my favorite memories of him. We’re out in the middle of the pond just the two of us in this little row-boat. Our lines get tangled and I stand up to remedy the situation. The boat starts rocking and my grandpa goes overboard head first! He surfaced laughing and feeling for the expensive pair of glasses he’d just gotten the week prior. He dives for them for a while, but they were forever lost ten feet down in the mud. We call it quits and have a few more good laughs over dinner recounting the story to my mom and grandma. He wore his old cracked pair for at least a few months after that and never once made me feel bad for tossing him over.
Where am I going with all this… not sure really. I guess I’m feeling like I need a little redemption after being so damned negative all week. In a previous post, I painted my grandfather in a bad light and threw him in with the rest of the savage animal killing hoard. In truth, he was a kind and loving man who had a deep love and respect for nature. He just never saw the need to stop hunting and fishing. Okay, I hear what your thinking… those other unenlightened souls out there killing and eating animals deserve the same respect and compassion as fellow human beings. Ouch… let’s get back on topic shall we.
My second grandfather in spirit is a man I’ve never met but feel I’ve known all my life- Henry David Thoreau. He planted the seeds of vegan rebellion in me many years ago that are just now coming to fruition. He was an avid fisherman who lost a taste for it later in life. He wrote: (I know it’s a big paragraph for Friday, but it’s worth the read)
I have found repeatedly, of late years, that I cannot fish without falling a little in self-respect. I have tried it again and again. I have skill at it, and, like many of my fellows, a certain instinct for it, which revives from time to time, but always when I have done I feel that it would have been better if I had not fished. I think that I do not mistake. It is a faint intimation, yet so are the first streaks of morning. There is unquestionably this instinct in me which belongs to the lower orders of creation; yet with every year I am less a fisherman, though without more humanity or even wisdom; at present I am no fisherman at all. But I see that if I were to live in a wilderness I should again be tempted to become a fisher and hunter in earnest. Beside, there is something essentially unclean about this diet and all flesh, and I began to see where housework commences, and whence the endeavor, which costs so much, to wear a tidy and respectable appearance each day, to keep the house sweet and free from all ill odors and sights. Having been my own butcher and scullion and cook, as well as the gentleman for whom the dishes were served up, I can speak from an unusually complete experience. The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness; and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth. Like many of my contemporaries, I had rarely for many years used animal food, or tea, or coffee, etc.; not so much because of any ill effects which I had traced to them, as because they were not agreeable to my imagination. The repugnance to animal food is not the effect of experience, but is an instinct. It appeared more beautiful to live low and fare hard in many respects; and though I never did so, I went far enough to please my imagination. I believe that every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food, and from much food of any kind. It is a significant fact, stated by entomologists—I find it in Kirby and Spence —that “some insects in their perfect state, though furnished with organs of feeding, make no use of them”; and they lay it down as “a general rule, that almost all insects in this state eat much less than in that of larvae. The voracious caterpillar when transformed into a butterfly … and the gluttonous maggot when become a fly” content themselves with a drop or two of honey or some other sweet liquid. The abdomen under the wings of the butterfly still represents the larva. This is the tidbit which tempts his insectivorous fate. The gross feeder is a man in the larva state; and there are whole nations in that condition, nations without fancy or imagination, whose vast abdomens betray them.
There is so much here I’d like to explore (maybe later) but now it’s time to hit the hot tub, drink some vegan beer, and dream of a better world. Have a great weekend everyone.