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What my 3,000-pound steer has taught me about faith.

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What my 3,000-pound steer has taught me about faith.

Post by amybyrd21 on Thu May 21, 2009 11:42 pm

Someone sent this to me a while back. I just found it again and thought I would share it.





http://www.slate.com/id/2205131/pagenum/all/
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amybyrd21
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Re: What my 3,000-pound steer has taught me about faith.

Post by Cotton Picker on Fri May 22, 2009 5:45 am

amybyrd21 wrote:
Someone sent this to me a while back. I just found it again and thought I would share it.

http://www.slate.com/id/2205131/pagenum/all/
While it was a very Mooving read.... The ending is what summarized it best...
Jon Katz wrote:
Elvis is not, to my knowledge, self-aware. He has no consciousness that I can see. He eats, rests, and stares out at the world, content to observe it.
I have often pondered at the reasons behind the proliferation of pets in the world and especially here in the US... I have come to an understanding... We are created to be social creatures... Far too many humans do not develop their "people skills" due to many causes.... They develop Misanthropic characteristics and tendencies.... Also due to the reality of human want and the propensity for egocentricity.... Far too few humans, will make the sacrifices necessary, to have truly reciprocal relationships.... They become something of a relationship parasite... As long as the host human meets all of their needs, and requires nothing more than minimal effort on the part of the parasite.... The one-sided "relationship" continues... It has been said that "No relationship is any deeper than the shallowest party will allow it to be"... And this is true... When the host requires more of the parasite than the parasite is willing to give... The parasite moves on to another host human... Hence the next step in the parade...
Jon Katz wrote:
When things are bad or I am nervous, I sometimes have fantasies of killing Elvis, of sending him to another farm or off to market, as it is tough to justify spending so much money on so much hay for a steer.

Elvis relaxes with a friendBut I even when I have these bad dreams, I doubt I will ever kill Elvis, because I have been oddly blessed in life to see that creatures like him have lives, just as I do. It is sometimes difficult for me to justify the idea of keeping such a creature as a pet and spending so much money on his feed and care.
Enter false intimacy, via the counterfeit relationship offered through Misanthropic Anthropomorphism... With this type of relationship, a person is allowed to freely worship their true god... Themselves.... They hold the power of life or death over their animal.. And they know it... They also are only able to really and truly reach an introspective state in the presence of, or contemplation of their pet... Combined with imbuing their pet with human emotions and wisdom.... Observe...
Jon Katz wrote:
Elvis already has the spiritual equanimity I have been seeking..... Cold, rain, snow, flies, ticks, mud, and muck—none disturbs him. He is as peaceful covered in ice as he is taking in the sun with the Guernsey steer, and his pal, Harold.... Elvis is affectionate in his own way. He eats hats and loves doughnuts, he drools generously on my head and shoulders, and his tongue is impressive. Once, he licked me and sucked the scarf right off my shoulders, just before he ate it.... Elvis, who weighs 3,000 pounds, is the size of a small mobile home, a vast sea of brown with big, soulful brown eyes that suggest, perhaps misleadingly, sadness and wisdom. I need a wide-angle lens just to take a decent photo of him, and more than once, he has swung his head toward me in a burst of affection and sent me flying..... He loves to have his nose and ear scratched and will lower his head, rub against me, and nearly purr if I brush his neck. I am the only person he will permit to get close for bug-spraying and medications. If Elvis does not want you to come near him, you will not...... Elvis goes where he wants to go.... When Elvis runs to say hello..... I have trained him to slow down, and to "stay" briefly, but Elvis is not really into training. And why should he be? He pretty much does what he wants..... I am finding in Elvis the spiritual life I have been searching for myself..... Then he looked up at me, as if to say, "What's next, bub?".... Elvis is a contemplative, capable of long hours of meditation and observation..... I suppose the drive to share them with Elvis comes from my dawning realization that he naturally embraces so many of the traits I have been looking for so long and often with such difficulty..... Thomas Merton wrote that one of the most important and neglected elements in the beginnings of an authentic and interior life is the ability to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things. Elvis seems to have that. I do not..... Elvis is beyond this. He doesn't have to work at acceptance, or retrain his mind to accept the bad with the good..... It does not really matter, he seemed to be saying, and I agreed.... This, I think, is the spiritual center of animals like Elvis, the thing that they can teach us and show us.
Jon Katz wrote:
Elvis does not know, and will not ever know, that he should be on the menu at McDonald's by now and is destined for a short life, as few steers see their fifth birthdays because their legs are not designed to carry such massive weight for too many years. There are few ways to treat such a massive and powerful beast if he gets sick, so when he does, it will almost surely be the end of him.
Mr Katz is not well versed in cattle.... Judging from the average flesh and stature of the Brown Swiss steer/ox in question...I personally doubt that "Elvis" weighs 3000lbs...
Brown Swiss

Brown Swiss tend to be calm, forgiving, and easy going, making them a great choice for the novice teamster. On the other hand, they grow faster and larger than many other breeds, which may be a disadvantage for young teamsters or those with limited facilities and small transport trailers.

color— light to dark brown
average mature weight— ox: 2,400#
bull: 2,200#
cow: 1,400-1,500#
http://www.ruralheritage.com/ox_paddock/oxbreeds1.htm
Oxen are generally able to work, for approximately the same lenghth of time that horses are... 15 years or so... Here is an extreme example...
"Old Partner" is 78 minutes long poetic documentary about an uncommon relationship between Choi, a feeble old farmer and his 40-year-old work ox. Average life span of ox is usually 15 years but his 'old partner' has managed to work for his master over 30 years thanks to Choi's almost religious adherence to organic feeds and deep care.

http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?menu=c10400&no=384776&rel_no=1
Jon Katz wrote:
Sometimes this makes me sad, even as I grasp the irony: It will never bother him.
Yes it is indeed sad and ironic.... That in spite of Mr Katz's exposure to wisdom... He appears to have eyes.... But yet is still unable to see... That in order to truly live... We must first die....
John 12:24The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone--a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels--a plentiful harvest of new lives.
Jon Katz wrote:
Thomas Merton wrote that one of the most important and neglected elements in the beginnings of an authentic and interior life is the ability to see the value and the beauty in ordinary things. Elvis seems to have that. I do not. When I take photos or write, I struggle to see how light and color suffuse our world and sometimes rise above myself to capture the beauty in ordinary things. But much of the time, I'm on the phone, trying to convince some disembodied computer or human that I do, in fact, exist and did, in fact, order those HDTV channels.
.

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