We can’t jump ship – The Sopris Sun

Here’s what I know for sure: water is life, life is fragile, and we are lucky ducks to live on this little miracle of existence: the SS Earth.

I recently had a dream where I was traveling across the ocean on a steamboat when I realized I was tied to a horse that was about to fall off the ship. As the horse’s foot failed, he jumped into the cold water and I was pulled through the air shouting, “Cut the line!” Cut the line! to no one and no one in particular. I was dragged through the dark, choppy water, trying to raise my head to breathe, until we finally landed on shore.

Phew, I thought, as I lay on the packed sand, waterlogged and coughing. Then I realized that the horse was about to start running and I was going to be dragged on the ground, which would be much worse than in the water. I started shouting again, “Cut the line! Cut the line! Then I woke up.

I attribute dreams like this to the family I was born into. Samuel Perry, by all accounts, was a very capable man who didn’t suffer from fools, and he wouldn’t have had much patience with a great-great-granddaughter who nearly drowned while she was tied to a horse in the Atlantic. Sam was probably the kind of guy who could rope climb underwater and ride a horse on shore like The Man from Snowy River.

Sam Perry moved to Denver in 1887 and became heavily involved in the railroads and mining industry. He was an avid rider and hunter, but I don’t know if he ever experienced the magic that this planet harbors. He was a land-penetrating bear hunter, so who knows if he had some mystical belief in his bones…

Generational karma is absolutely a thing, and while I appreciate coming from such a strong stock, I’m more of a walker so others can walk at all. I always rescue empty doom bugs from the bathtub, for Pete’s sake, and every time I find myself in a cosmic traffic jam, I sarcastically thank Sam for leaving his karmic tab unpaid. Personally, I prefer pay it forward. I sincerely believe that we can still pull ourselves together and eliminate our greedy corruption, so that there is enough food, water and shelter for everyone, including animals.

I became a vegetarian in college because my Philosophy 101 professor simply asked me what is the philosophical difference between humans and animals? An added bonus was the shock value it created with my cattle ranching grandparents, because as a teenager it’s your job to disrupt family norms. My vegetarianism morphed over the decades of my life and became more about treating the animal I was to eat.

The best example of this shift in perception was my sister’s wedding in Senegal. I worked for the airline at the time, so I flew without rev to represent the family, and while I stayed with his future in-laws, I went up to the roof for smoke breaks. There was a goat tethered there and we bonded over a few sunsets and too many Camel lights. When I realized it was the main course on the big day, I felt saddened at first, but then appreciated the ultimate sacrifice for my sister’s future health and prosperity.

It’s not that we humans shouldn’t eat meat, it’s the way we do it that’s causing real harm to ourselves and our planet. We have lost our cosmic map to navigate this world. We don’t grow/raise our food sustainably or seasonally, and we don’t value food as food, so we don’t feel full or connected to anything else, including source. We just eat our fast food while driving as fast as possible to the next stop. We’re so busy and yet, instead of investing in our own home, we’re treating the Earth like an Airbnb, and our animal neighbors are paying the price. As we all travel through this crazy, crowded world, let’s stay connected and pay it forward for those still hoping for a ride.

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