Tag Archives: Favorite Quotes

More About Eating Meat

The Universal Pantheist Society has a “Ning” site and we have a group about Ethical Eating.  There was a post with the following quote:  

“Food for us comes from our relatives, whether they have wings or fins or roots.  That is how we consider food.  Food has a culture.  It has a history.  It has a story.  It has relationships. ”  (Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth)

Here are some of my thoughts about it.  I get that about our food having wings or fins or roots and have lived it for my whole life, albeit with some years of inner turmoil over the suffering, the violence. It just no longer serves me and my inner peace to eat food that causes suffering to a creature who can look at me, hear and respond to me, feel pain, suffocate, cry, mourn, smile, or sing.  And how do we as a society, or an individual, decide which animals are fair game for food and which are not?  Which are okay to wear and which are not?  In the last few weeks and days, I’ve made a decision to change my eating habits, not perfectly enough to suit hardcore vegans in terms of every single ingredient or item in my house, but certainly a big change in what I feel is the right direction for me and the animals and even the planet.

Years ago, my now ex-husband was a deer hunter. By the time the meat got to the table it was packaged in various forms. I cooked it and ate it and enjoyed it. Then one day he brought home the whole dead deer, and I saw that beautiful face, the eyes still open, and that was it for me and deer meat. Never again. We each have our moments. I have not eaten veal, the other side of the dairy industry, or pork for years. I know my daughter stopped eating pork when she read how intelligent pigs are, like a 3-year-old child. We each take our steps and have to live with ourselves. But I seriously do believe that eating food that’s a product of violence contributes to overall violence on the planet.

I’m just here to share my own position and any info I may have picked up along the way, not to convert people, at least not yet as, again, this has been a serious and big struggle for me for years and isn’t an easy thing, and I get that.  Like many others, I’ve gone back and forth, guiltless for awhile, then racked with guilt. But now my physical and most importantly mental/spiritual health depend on me making a change.  Each person has to decide for themselves about the food they eat and the clothes they wear, but I can provide facts and my perspective.

Regardless of what we eat, though, I think it’s good to sit down to our food with an air of gratitude for all that went into it, human and other animal efforts, earth, sunshine and rain, everything.  Here’s a special grace that I love and have shared with Pantheists before:

“Bless our hearts to hear in the breaking of bread the song of the universe.” 

(Father John Guiuliani)

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2017 by Raindrop Ridge Press

“Every walk to the woods is a religious rite, every bath in the stream is a saving ordinance. Communion service is at all hours, and the bread and wine are from the heart and marrow of Mother Earth.”

~ John Burroughs

(Oconaluftee River, Cherokee, North Carolina)

~Sharon

Copyright (C) 2012 by Raindrop Ridge Press

Singing the Praises of Apples


Yesterday on Facebook I wrote, “I love the first feelings of Autumn and some yummy fresh apple cake from Barber Orchard Fruit Stand for Sunday breakfast!”
 
There are so many things I love about the fall season in the mountains, and Barber’s Orchard opening up their fruit stand and bakery each year is one of them.  They’ve been open for years and people come from all around this time of year.  They sell lots of different vegetables and the bakery has fruit pies besides apple, but being an apple orchard, that’s their specialty.  In the old orchard building up the hill from there, there used to be a fantastic antique store, but sadly it closed down.  I did buy a few treasures in there, though, through the years, and I still have several old Barber’s Orchard apple crates that I use for tables in my house, as end tables for the couch, to hold books, lamps, candles, whatever.  I love reusing stuff like those old used crates, and I love apple season.  Interestingly, I’m not a huge fan of raw apples or plain apple juice (can I be completely honest here?  When my daughters were babies, they drank and threw up a lot of apple juice!  Sorry!), although sometimes I do have a hankering for a fresh raw apple.  But applesauce, apple butter, spiced apple cider, apple pie, turnovers, fritters, muffins, and, of course, fresh apple cake……now those really hit the spot!  By the way, Barber’s cakes come in a loaf, as in my photo, or a bigger Bundt cake.  My daughter makes a tasty apple cake, too, and apple dumplings that are yummy!
 
These are just some of those warm, comforting foods that go along with all the other pleasures of Autumn, and I was glad when my mom mentioned a few days ago about going to Barber’s.  Western North Carolina, especially around the Hendersonville area, is known for apples, and they even have an Apple Festival there, too.  Just another cool thing to remember if you take a drive to the mountains looking at leaves in a few weeks….stop by a roadside stand and pick up a bag or box of apples and maybe a pumpkin or two, too. What could be more colorful and heartwarming (and tasty) on a beautiful fall day?  Hmmm………the more I think about it, the more I’m starting to want a fresh apple!  Guess I’ll have to make another trip over the mountain this weekend!
 
One of my favorite quotes of all times is “It takes an entire Universe to make an apple pie.”  (Carl Sagan).**  It’s a viewpoint of interconnectedness, and to me, eating is a sacred activity.  It connects me with that entire Universe – the people who planted apple trees, picked the apples, baked the pie, sold it or served it to me, and all the other things involved, and the people we share our food with, but it also connects me with the sun, trees, rain, and soil, so that an apple pie (or cake!) is so much more than food sitting on my plate.  When I take a bite of it, it becomes a part of me.  It’s life, just pure and simple. I’ve taken a lot for granted and now I’m trying to live more mindfully and with a lot more gratitude. Enjoy!

** I have since seen the correct (apparently) version of this Sagan quote, which is “In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” (March 2017)

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2012 by Raindrop Ridge Press

My Little Segment of the Rainbow

Even when you’re having a stressful day, riding down the road and around a curve, to suddenly see this brilliant display of a rainbow can just transform your day. This little drive along the Tuckasegee River is one of my favorites and always makes me feel good; the rainbow was the icing on the cake.  No matter how many rainbows I see, they still stop me in my tracks and take my breath for a minute. Nature seems to have a way of surprising me sometimes with something so fabulous and unexpected that I just can’t stay in a bad mood or an apathetic one. This rainbow was truly magnificent – I only wish this photo did it any kind of justice!  As Thoreau put it so beautifully, “The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”   A day where I can see something as lovely as this rainbow or an unexpected smile or the flash of a bluebird (and the list goes on and on) is a day where I believe I’ve had a bountiful harvest!  I believe this can be true every day of my life if I just open my eyes, ears, and other senses, as well as my mind and my heart.

~Sharon

 Copyright (c) 2012 by Raindrop Ridge Press

A Simple Pleasure

Life is a little crazy and busy right now and getting busier by the second with my daughter’s wedding coming up soon, but it helps us to just focus on life’s simplicity sometimes and take a deep breath, like…..warm bread with homemade pear preserves, a jar of which was slipped quietly in my mailbox by my neighbor down the hill.  The pears came from trees in her own yard.  A bit of unexpected neighborliness wrapped up in nature’s sweetness.  You know, Carl Sagan said, “It takes an entire Universe to make an apple pie.”  Well, it takes an entire universe to make that jar of preserves, too.  What a gift!

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2010 by Raindrop Ridge Press

Return of the Bluebirds

“When Nature made the bluebird, she wished to propitiate both the sky and the earth, so she gave him the color of the one on his back and the hue of the other on his breast.”

~John Burroughs

bluebirdpublicdomain

I love this quote because it combines two of my favorite things — bluebirds and John Burroughs!  People who have known me for a while through the pantheist group I’m in know how much I love John Burroughs and his book “Accepting the Universe.”  It’s one of my top 5 favorite books ever….for me, it’s the nearest thing to a Bible that a pantheist has.  Even though it was written so many years ago, it still works today, and every word and sentence I read seems to so eloquently echo my own thoughts and feelings.

The Eastern bluebird that lives in my  neck of the woods has to be one of the most glorious, beautiful, and brilliant creations of Nature I’ve personally ever seen.  Their flash of color takes my breath away and I consider myself so lucky to catch glimpses of them.  A couple of years ago, I put up a bluebird house on my front porch post, not the best of places because of the disturbance going in and out of the door, but a mama bird built a nest there nonetheless, and I was able to see the eggs and then the babies, watching them every day like a proud grandma until they took flight on their own.  After that, I took the house down.  I just felt like I was too intrusive and bothered the mama too much.  i still haven’t gotten a post put up in my small yard to put the house on, and now that it’s February, I’m really regretting that.  This is the time when the bluebirds come scouting around for a home.  I haven’t seen one yet; we have had such cold weather here recently that it may still be a little early, but the weather is warming up over the next few days, so maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to catch that little glimpse of heaven and earth.  My neighbors have bluebird houses, so I know they’ll be in the area.

I realize more and more how special a simple thing like a bluebird is in my life and how it makes me focus so intensely for a short time on my connection with nature.  it’s all around me, all the time, whether it’s the bluebird or a myriad of other things.  Life is good and I’m so glad to be a part of it all.

~Sharon

 Copyright (c) 2009 by Raindrop Ridge Press