What to say? The day was delicious, absolutely delicious. The garden, after many weeks of pruning, weeding and mulching, looked more vibrant than it’s ever been. The entire front and back of the house was swept clean, all windows washed, the interior thoroughly smudged. The food came in great heaping piles of goodness, the beer was great (tip o’ the hat to Russian River Brewery’s Parking Violation Ale), the strawberries well-dipped in chocolate thanks to Jojo the careful cook, and the lamb, oh my!
We actually roasted a fresh, local lamb on a spit this year, with help from a local guy who’s in with the Greek Orthodox community. It was acquired by calling CK Lamb in Healdsburg and asking for one to be butchered and ready by Saturday. But it’s one thing to have abstractly-shaped cuts of meat on the barbecue, and another thing entirely to have a whole animal (sans head) over the fire, for hours. It was a little unsettling for me at times–were we freaking out our vegetarian friends? Had we gone “too far” in demonstrating that taking life in a respectful way is okay?
It is very intense to participate in the cycle of life and death so intimately. Making choices of life and death for other living beings is part of our heritage as homo sapiens, a responsibility that we should learn to hold with ethics and values that make sense. “The sanctity of life” is only part of the picture. There is also the gift of sacrifice, and the life of the spirit whether in corporeal form or not.
Hmmm, I can see this is getting into a longer rant on life and death, and the tragic choices that are our burden, and our birthright. I must be coming down from the high of Beltane! That’s probably good, because it was really hard to concentrate at work today, and I have to do it again tomorrow, too. But the glow of the holy day is still on the land so strongly. The garden is absolutely vibrant, the maypole an epiphany of color and pattern repeating infinitely. The house is clean again, our fridge is full of wonderful leftovers, and our freezer is full of bags of lamb bones and meat, ready to be turned into wholesome, healthy lamb stew. And not just any lamb stew, but a stew full of the magic of the first day of summer, and the incredible gift of life that nourishes life. Blessed be!