A Crustacean’s Tale

26 Feb

The following was written by Denise Jackson, and Deep Green Resistance Colorado is very thankful that she has so generously allowed us to publish it here. Look for more of Denise’s writings to come. Thanks Denise! 

I used to catch crawdads out of the acequia, using a piece of string taken from a bale of hay, tying a strip of bacon at the end. The crawdads could be seen lurking like prehistoric forklifts through the murky ditch water.  I would sit on the rickety bridge with the sun at my back so that my shadow would cut the glare and allow me to watch the deceptively delicate movements of the crustaceans. Claws like machine guns at the fore; looking, looking for bits of food drifting past them in the silt.  By sense of watery chemical smell they would clasp the bacon with a kind of death-hold, for that is what it was, as I pulled them v e r y  s l o w l y upward toward the water’s surface. Hoping that the charade of good-giving would continue to fool them until I had them flipping backward onto the ditchbank, I caught them behind the head so their rotating clawed arms couldn’t pinch me, even though they could completely turn their claws behind themselves, twisting and flipping muscular tail flesh the whole time.

Isn’t that what the conglomerate food producers do to us every day?  Lure us with a supposedly free taste, then as slowly and secretively as I pulled the crawdads above the surface of the water, these same people – these ARE companies actually run by PEOPLE- pull us along the bank until we have no bank and are flopping helplessly, fighting for breath, out of our home element.  I only wish my hands were shaped like those of the crawdad’s; sharp and ridged with shell material, pointed at the tip so I could reach above, below and sideways to give them a hard, painful pinch to remember me by.

I put those crawdads in a pail of ditch water and carried them up the dirt road bordering the south side of our farm. Then I dumped them, ceremoniously, of course, into the porcelain/steel bathtub that we used to water our horses. Little did they know, exploring this newer, cleaner world, that I was only letting them live long enough to clean out their systems, to remove the materials in digestion and leave them with bright, white fleshy tails for sweet eating. 

You see, I knew very well that to eat, I had to kill. I had been killing deer, pheasant, quail, dove and fish for a long time by then.  I knew that each being, carrots and corn included, must be ripped out of life and dismembered for consumption.  Sometimes I would throw a crawdad or two into the chicken pen and watch, fascinated by the ballet of the hens as they expertly struck each crawdad exactly at the joint where claw joined foreleg.  Then they would run off exultantly, cackling with glee at the winning of their prize, all the while being chased crazily by chickens not so lucky as to have gained this precious treasure. 

That is how we need to view the carcasses of our repast; as treasures not to be wasted, not to leave a single scrap of the life we take for our own nourishment. Learn also the lesson of the crawdad – a free present dangled in the present does not mean a future of gifts.  If you don’t see the hand just above the water’s surface, you just might end up in a tank bank, to be used at leisure for the meat of your soul, or the meat of your sold.

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