August 06, 2018
There she was! I could just see a small dot by the edge of the forest far away where the huge field ended. She was standing still, in the same spot as always and she was alone.
"I see her! Stop the car!"
My dad pulled over so I could jump out and go to the fence surrounding the field. This stop on the way home had become part of our familiar routine. My heart would always leap when I saw her and by the time I was out of the car she had already started walking in my direction. It made me so happy, she recognised me and wanted to say hi too!
She was beautiful as she strolled over the grassy field in a slow, majestic pace. The wind caught her mane which made it twist upwards, almost looking like a halo surrounding her face. She was glorious.
She had big hooves, bigger than most horses I had seen, and my dad told me that her bigger hooves were a sign that she was probably a working horse. I didn’t know what that meant exactly and I don’t think my dad knew either.
Eventually, she reached me, and she touched my face with her soft velvet muzzle. She nibbled my ear and I was giggling. She let me touch and stroke her; she was so gentle and kind while looking down at me with her big brown eyes. I was so small compared to her.
So we stood in each other’s company until my dad said we had to go home. Reluctantly I walked back to the car. I said goodbye to her and promised I would come back soon (which I did, every time we passed). The car pulled off and I watched her until we drove around the corner and I couldn't see her anymore. I saw that she had been following us with her eyes too.
So many questions
In her pride and gentleness, this beautiful horse shared her sadness with me, and it broke my heart. This sadness filled me up, and began to grow into many questions for me about my new friend. She looked so alone.
Who was she? What was her name ? Where was she from? What did she do all day long? What were her dreams? What were her fears? Was she always alone? Where was her family? Did she have children? What was her history? Why was she there? What did she like to do? Did she have any friends?
The questions started popping into my head, and I felt a sting of despair and guilt. I was going home safely in our car, together with my dad, and I left her there, all alone.
I was told that I didn’t have to worry; she had a good life. She was out in the field and probably treated well. I was satisfied with those answers and like most children, trusted that the grownups knew best. For the most part, I believed the horse’s life in the field was a good one, but her loneliness still haunted me. I had a small nagging feeling that the real answers to my questions would reveal more to me about her sadness.
Back at home, in our summer house on the west coast of Sweden, I threw my shoes off, went to see if my neighbour girlfriend was home and up for play. We headed to the beach to go swimming. Yay!
I brushed off the nagging feelings about the horse in the field, and by the time we had dinner I had been so preoccupied with play, fun and sun that she, the working horse, had been pushed to the side, for the moment.
For dinner, we normally had some fish or meat together with potatoes (in those days with every meal) and fresh salad from the garden.
I never wondered about the meat and fish on my plate, I ate happily, never thinking about where the food came from. It was just one of the things we bought in the supermarket. I never asked who is this? Who is lying on my plate? What or who am I actually eating?
I was severely disconnected. This disconnection between the living animal and the food on our plates has been ingrained in us through generations. Over years of eating unconsciously, we have built up this wall inside us. If we consider the source of our food at all, we simply tell ourselves that what we do to our fellow non-human animal brothers and sisters, is perfectly normal, natural and even necessary for our survival.
Luckily, we are not dependant on animals to survive!
This wall inside us has been built up to protect ourselves from our own actions. As humans, we are compassionate beings. And we are violating our own values, it hurts and it goes deep. So to keep sane, we need this wall to keep us disconnected.
The wall inside me was rock hard, but one day - maaaaany years later - it was scattered into pieces. And I’m so happy and grateful for that!
Seeing the truth was difficult, but oh, so liberating.
I can’t recommend it enough!
Summers not over, and that means still long warm evenings, fun in the sun and barbeque, right?
Of course! Who doesn’t love being outdoors, chilling with friends and family all while grilling some delicious food. I don’t want to miss out on that, and I bet you don’t want to either.
For many folks, meat is an automatic part of a barbeque, but a little creativity can transform this meat-centred meal into a compassionate summertime sensation.
So, to get you inspired and stunned about how cool and tasty it is to have a plant-based barbeque, I have some handy tips for you to enjoy during the last weeks of the summer with everything that entails, including a delicious grilling feast. Sound good?
The organisation, Four Paws has put together a super handy checklist of 10 ways to rock an animal-friendly BBQ.
It’s hot, it’s sizzling, and it's delicious!
PS Cuteness alert! I just have to share this video with the most adorable Summer Lunch between friends!
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