Early ancestors, vegetarians, parenthood, and ambivalencePosted: May 7, 2012
I feel a ramble coming on. Thoughts are jumbling around in my mind about our earliest ancestors, vegetarians, parenthood, and ambivalence.
It all started with a tweet from a blogging friend, who I’ve mentioned before, Julia Munroe Martin, alias Wordsxo. Which is actually quite a clever, concise, and cryptic name if you think about it, unlike Random Thoughts from Midlife, which is bulky (I curse it every time I have to log in to make a comment on someone else’s blog), and non-descript, but probably every bit as descriptive of what is going on in this little section of the WWW.
Julia told me about the Cornell Lab’s live cams of the Great Blue Heron and Red-Tailed Hawk nests complete with noisy, hungry babies. Talk about a time drain, once I turn these on, I have a lot of trouble turning away unless mama or papa is sitting asleep atop the babes, which actually happens a fair amount of the time. The rest of the time, like the sparrows and starlings, the devoted parents spend trying to feed their ravenous chicks. (Is there a special name for baby blue herons, or baby hawks? Another side-trip, another diversion, another wild goose chase. I warned you about the rambling.) (And does the frappin’ period go inside or outside the parenthesis? This one always drives me crazy.)..
Back to finding my point. The baby birds in the live cams (or in the videos of big events like papa-drops-off-a-vole) are absolutely adorable fuzzy little charmers. The baby herons’ spiked hairdo’s and miniature long necks will make you laugh. The hawk babies’, with their soulful eyes invoke a desire to cradle one in your hands. Then mama or papa heron swings back and drops a fish into their midst. Or mama or papa hawk lay a rabbit across the nest. I don’t need to tell you what happens next. Hence, the ambivalence.
I was thinking about all of this last night as I was eating a juicy piece of steak.
I have no desire to debate the merits of vegetarianism. I know people who are vegetarian or vegan. I’ve considered it for myself at the very outer edges of my mind. But I don’t go there, because I want to be able to eat meat. Life seems easier to me if I am able to eat meat. So I don’t dwell on it.
Here’s the other thing, and where our ancestors all come in. You may think, like I do, that your ancestors are from England, or Germany, or Ireland, or Africa, or the far East, or any number of places. But the truth is, we all have ancestors who lived in the very earliest of time, dwelled among caves, hunted and gathered. Ate meat. I don’t claim to be an expert anthropologist, although that is on my what-to-be-in-another-lifetime list. And I don’t know if all human life stems back to one (I guess that actually should be two beings) or whether this miracle occurred in several different places on our planet. But I do know that spontaneous human creation is not happening today, nor did it happen in modern times.
If it were possible we would all find out that our roots go back to two, or four, or ten, or some number of the earliest of our ancestors who were men and women living in caves, building fires, and hunting and eating meat. It’s our heritage. And it’s part of our natural inclination.
We can talk about overcoming natural inclinations at some other time if you’d like.
So how do I make sense out of cute little heron babies attacking and devouring fish, or a hawk mother delicately feeding her fluffy chicks meat from the fur of a soft bunny rabbit who was probably minding its own business eating the lettuce in someone’s garden, or trying to get food for it’s now orphaned babies in a nest somewhere? How do I justify eating meat while loving little critters and big animals and all of nature at the same time?
I see now that I don’t really have a point at all, but a question.