I killed a chicken today. I say “killed” because I did not “take its life”; it did not “pass on”. I took a knife and I slit its throat. To kill and animal ought to be an act of respect, and I hope that I do the bird justice when I eventually put her in a pot and make chicken and dumplings with her. She was a nice looking bird if not a bit old. She’d had a good life, which is important.
I also think that it is important for everyone that eats meat to kill their own food at least once. It is never a pleasant experience until after the act of killing when it is easy to differentiate the food aspect from the living creature aspect. Somehow in that split second it is easy to understand how fragile all life really is and the cost that is paid for living. This is perhaps one of the greatest personal motivations that I have for trying to become self-sufficient.
I’ve killed a number of animals over the years, all of which I’ve put in my freezer and eaten, except for a few sheep that I helped someone kill in order to put in their own freezer. Death is certainly part of life, and is no doubt a part of becoming self-sufficient: we have to eat. Self-sufficiency is in some ways self-realization and in the bigger scheme of things, the realization that we are part of a greater cycle which will continue with or without us.
I thought about that I was a part of; the cycle that would begin with the death of the old bird. The owner of the chicken had bought four new pullets to replace the doomed chicken. I would eat the chicken and eventually the cycle would come full circle with my own death. This is not morbid or odd; it is beautiful actually.
More and more, as the realization of what it is to become self-sufficent grows along with my skill-set, I realize the beauty in the idea of self-sufficiency whether it is through my new found love for “Bee TV” (pulling up a chair with a cup of coffee and watching the bees fly to and from their hive), growing a garden, carpentry, mechanics, putting up drywall (I did that last week, one of my lesser favorite skills) or killing a chicken for a friend.
I thought about it and concluded that it would not show the respect due the old chicken had I simply referred to her death as a “passing”, or that I “ sent her to a better place”. I killed a chicken, simply put. But her death symbolizes something greater than can be described, pronounced or understood.