Posted by: Banta | May 26, 2019

Saying Grace

Here in the mountains lettuce and spinach compete for space in the late spring garden. The strawberries are coming in, lavender is in bloom and the snow peas are ready to harvest.

strawberry-lavender

These are some of my other-than-human friends. Like us humans, they have consciousness. They communicate among themselves and with each other. When I am grounded and fully present, they also communicate with me.

I talk with them out loud. Not only do I talk to the food and herb plants in the garden, but I also chat with the oak and poplar trees, the water in the creek, the soil under my feet, the white pine beams that hold up my house, the bees and butterflies, the crows and the bears who occupy the land where I live – land of the Cherokee/Tsalagi and the Catawba.

And I listen, too. Before the harvest comes the conversation – and the consent. May I pick these strawberries, this lavender? May I collect this spinach and lettuce and arugula for supper? May I harvest these peas?  May I cut this lavender? I ask out loud and wait for a response.

If I had chickens, I’d be having the consent conversation with the hens, too. May I take your eggs for my omelet? May I kill you and eat you? The food plants are no less sentient than the chickens, and we pay respect to our plant and animal kin when we ask permission before we harvest, before we kill, before we eat. To do otherwise is to practice a level of two-legged human entitlement that I’m no longer comfortable with.

Saying grace before a meal looks different and takes a bit longer these days. While I still thank the Divine Creator and Mother Gaia for the bounty I’m about to receive, I also thank my plant and animal kin for their sacrifice. These plant and animal kin give their lives that I may live, that I may eat healthy food. Their death is essential to sustaining my own life.

When we come back into respectful relationship with our other-than-human kin, we acknowledge our place in the web of all life. We remember our vulnerability,  our interdependence. We take up less space, which is a good thing. We ask permission, show respect, give thanks.

How does this land with you? Are these ideas new and strange? Feel free to share your comments here! Let’s continue the conversation.

 


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