"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Food and Me, #7: Five Sense Sabbath (Three weeks removed)

**warning:  this post describes in detail the slaughter of a lamb I witnessed on Friday, June 5.  I did not find it a disturbing experience, but if you have never experienced a butchering, you might.**

Hearing: the pop of the stun gun, the sawing of knife on woollen neck and spine, the gush of blood from the throat, the sigh of air leaving lungs, involuntary kicking of hooves against the barn wall as the last burst of life ebbs slowly from tendons and sinews.

Tasting: gunpowder smoke, the metal taste of a stomach clenched with nerves

Touching: sharp of knife, tuft of wool, heat, punch, and tug of skinning, my own skin's softness from handling the fat

Seeing: so little red, actually, after the initial rushing stream; warm brown eye stilled; hung meat; steam rising from offal; organs so similar to my own insides, ovaries and all,

Smelling:  warm and putrid smell of organs resting in a blue Rubbermaid container, hay and manure of a low, covered barn, salt blood, the raw tallow smell of lamb remaining on my arms for hours, long after washing up.  Then, sun and wind in muslin cloth as we wrapped the carcass tightly for hanging, keeping the flies from the fresh, clean meat.

And all for a Seder supper on Saturday night, complete with roast lamb just like it says in Exodus. Meat so moist and tender it practically melted on my tongue.  The rich broth filling the house with the smell of life lost and life sustained.  The lamb's life laid out in a butcher's cradle for mine.

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