Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Death of Pheasants

Boiled up three pheasants last night with the goal of making pheasant with dumplings. David's friend Todd bagged a whole bunch of them on a hunting trip and now we get the fruits of his labors, such as they are. As I cleaned them in the sink I thought about their deaths. It must have been pretty scary for them in that field that day, with all the yelling and tromping and gunshots.

The shot drives their feathers into their flesh, pokes their bodies full of little holes and breaks their bones. One of the pheasant was shot at pretty close range. Its body was a mess -- not much left of the breast on the left side. This is what it means to be shot to hell, I guess.

The chicken we buy in the store is so so clean. We even buy it deboned now, which removes us yet another step from the fact that this was a living creature. It's more obvious what you are eating when you have to pick the shot out, break its leg joint with your hands to get the claw off because the joint is too tough to cut through, and remove bits of lung tissue and heart.

Life feeds on life, says Joseph Campbell. It's one of the mysteries of this life. I live because it died. Thank you, pheasant, for what you have given me.

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