Dragging the peeler away from me, I skin the carrots, dropping orange strips into the deep sink. My mother-in-law insists on a deep kitchen sink and she’s right. They're better.
Lining the carrots up on the plastic cutting board I cut off seven tips all at once. Holding them steady with my right hand, my left hand rocks over the line-up, slicing through in a rachet-like motion. Never can I slice a carrot without thinking of the time I cut through my left thumb, called my "work crush" to take me to the hospital, kissed him on the cheek when he dropped me off, and felt the cold burn of “nothing” in return. Over and over I rock my blade until I’m at the stubs.
Stubs get tossed and for the millionth time I long for a compost pile for all the good veggie scraps I throw away. Produce used to rot in our crisper but not now. We use up everything. Still, there's no time to even think of starting a garden.
It's taken me a while to come to grips with eating meat. For years I ate vegetarian, but pregnancy does strange things to people. With Riley, I found myself sitting in a parked car, eating cheeseburgers from McDonalds. Not one, but two cheeseburgers. Todd would've been less shocked if I’d opened my palm and offered him a hit of a crack pipe. He thouroughly enjoyed my foray into the dark side, but it didn’t last.
Now, our diet is so limited, poultry is a must. At least for us. At least for me.
Still, cutting through bird flesh gives me the willies. Picking the meat off a whole chicken’s bones, is gross. Yes, we could buy only breasts, but at least once a week it’s a whole chicken. It’s become a moral issue for me. Look at what you’re eating. Acknowledge it. Be conscious of it. Plus, it's Seth's favorite.
There is an idea that every soul, animal and human, bug and tree, makes a decision to exist in this world, and chooses when to exit. No accidents. No one goes, unless they have agreed to go. A sacred contract is honored, every time.
Lately as I rub oil over the bird, and pat salt and pepper onto its skin, I’ve replaced my usual mantra of “Oh God,” or “I’m sorry,” to “Thank you. Thank you for coming into existence. Thank you for nourishing my family.”
This Thanksgiving we will eat with reverence.
We will enjoy every bite.
Looking around the table I will be thankful for all the things I thought I wanted, but didn't get, and I will be grateful for the three beautiful faces looking back at me that I did.