Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Accidental Vegetarian, XI

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Thus, thriving as a vegetarian in this civilized place, this quiet, peaceful mecca at the edge of the great prairie where the Commanche and Cheyenne once hunted the buffalo. I turn on the television, and I am transported into the Amazon jungle, there to watch a father show his sons how to catch a tarantula and roast him in the lodge fire coals, and I know that my choice, my vegetarianism, my purposeful elimination of meat from my diet, is a conceit of the industrialized world. It is a thing much easier to choose and then embrace wholeheartedly when ample nourishing food is as near as the local health food store, the farmers' market, or chain supermarket.

But I feel better physically, which improvement may simply be a quirk of my singular metabolism – and take a measure of quiet satisfaction that I am not a terminal for the bizarre and somewhat brutal factory assembly line that converts living creatures into meat products, but I will not claim I am right, that I earn some measure more than a family gathered around a kettle of chicken and rice in a thatch hut in some far away jungle highlands.

Karma being what it is, we act, and we gain or lose. I chose to give up meat, in a sacrifice both studied and casual. And from that decision, I've grown quieter, healthier, more clear about my appetites, sharper in my perceptions, stumbling awkwardly "to step in into the stream which leads to nirvana."

To be continued.
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