6 November

Divergent Worlds: What It Is To Be Humane

by Jon Katz
Divergent Worlds: To Be Humane

What does it mean to be “humane?” The dictionary says it means something that is characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering of the distressed.” It is a clear definition, but vague, like other definitions easily interpreted in different ways.

I like it, though, this definition. I am tender to my animals, compassionate towards them. I show sympathy for people and animals, and I am acutely aware of the suffering of the distressed, even as that seems to be out of fashion. I felt this most acutely in my hospice work, where we worked hard to ease the suffering and distress of people at the edge of life.

I  remember finding Rose on the floor at the back door of the farmhouse, shivering in a pool of freezing vomit.

She looked so broken in spirit as I picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket and cleaned her off. I can remember how clearly I heard the words “help me,” and I said back to her, “I will take care of you. I will help you now.” I was so grateful to be able to end her suffering, even as I was so sorry to lose her from my life. It was, I thought, such a gift to her, such a humane thing to do.

There are so many different notions about what it means to be humane.

 

 

 

6 November

Loving Women. Maria Is My Shekinah.

by Jon Katz
Loving Women

I have always loved women. I have always tried to surround  myself with Goddesses, and there are many around me. Maria, Lulu, Fanny, Mother until she left, Minnie. And these two, the first the cast of a Madonna from a church destroyed by bombers in Germany, the second a muse I have always kept in my office, near my computer. I see women as powerful, loving, as manifestations of Shekinah, God’s female angel and warrior in the Kaballah. I believe the statue on the right to be Shekinah, who God instructed to make sure that humans allowed their creative sparks to light and shine, and who told Shekinah to protect Mother Earth and destroy any human who despoiled her. In the Kabbalah, Shekinah quarreled with God, chased him through the skies on chariots, told him he had messed up the world and needed to fix it.  He fled from her, hid from here.

When Shekinah found weak humans who had failed to ignite their creative spark, or who despoiled Mother Earth through trash or neglect, she devoured them, leading thousands of angels and cheribums to brush against their cheeks and hearts and single them until they vanished in a cloud of smoke. Shekinah is my muse, my guiding spirit, she warns me to be creative, be strong, make my own decisions or she will send a cloud of cheribum to roast my ass. This, friends, is why I have written 22 books. I dare not. I love Shekinah, and I love the female spirit of strength, nurture and creativity that she represents.

I believe Maria is Shekinah in human form. She is a creative fury. I haven’t told her this theory. Yet.

6 November

The Bedlam Coop

by Jon Katz

The Bedlam Chicken Coop is a work of art. The chickens enter and exit through the side door on the front, and there is a roost up in the eaves where they climb at night, their warmth warming the peak. To the right is the nesting box, where they can lay their eggs. To the left, a door that opens to easily clean out the coop floor, which is covered in leaves and old hay.  At night, it is all closed up, safe from predators, comfortable even in Hurricane Sandy. It can also be picked up and moved, it is on wheels. Many thanks to Tomiym of Common Sense Farm, who makes these wonderful creations himself. He is the Chicken Master.

6 November

Sweet Minnie’s New Life

by Jon Katz
Sweet Minnie

My life with animals is a continuum, a yin and yang, an up and down, in and out. Many people struggle with idea, refusing to accept that animals do not have perfect lives and that there are limits to what we can do for them. The farm teaches me limits, as does my own life. We move, Mother is gone for good, Rocky is struggling with his new life.  There are rays of light and disappointments for me, one follows the other. It is the way of the world, of life. We can’t give ourselves eternal life, and we can’t give it to them either. I knew Mother wasn’t coming back the day she left. Mother is the captain of her ship.  She sails where she will. Sweet Minnie is a happy story. I wonder sometimes if she is too sweet to be a barn cat, so she is half-pet. She is very happy here, Queen of the Barn, nightstalker in the pasture.

We feed her twice a day, and she loves to walk with us, hang around with us, sit on the porch, sleep on a hay bale in the big barn, hang around with us, rub against Simon (he is grumpy with her) cuddle with Red, he is easy with her. I think Minnie thinks she is a chicken. She is always hanging out with them, sunning herself with them. We are happy to have her here, she is a Bedlam creature.

6 November

Connecting

by Jon Katz
Connecting

Each day, Maria greets the sheep, connects with them. As always food is the foundation, and it grows from there. We have just gotten our sheep coats so we can cover them for the winter and keep their wool clean for next year’s shearing. The coats have to be changed several times, as the fleece grows. Maria is establishing a relationship with her sheep, who used to run away.

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