What does a liberal Joe Biden supporting vegan and a conservative “make America great again” hunter have in common?
The answer might surprise you but before I answer that…
October might be my favorite month of the year. Ohio offers a beautiful deciduous landscape throughout the month and it is a calm reminder that after birth [spring] and a bountiful life [summer] we should age with grace [fall] as we approach our temporary death [winter].
As I recently heard in a podcast, “At some point, these atoms I am renting will return to the earth.”
Maybe it is COVID or maybe it is hunting season that brings my own mortality to the foreground. Regardless of origin, these reflections on life and death amplify my gratitude for today and I am thankful.
Thank you for being a part of my tribe.
"The hunters have a different idea of life and death than the average person who is shielded by it, who is using their credit card to pay for a supermarket hitman to make cheeseburgers for them." - Joe Rogan
In thirty days, we will all sit down for an evening of thanks and blessing for the harvest of the past year. As you sit down to this meal with loved ones, I would like you to consider one question:
What is my story?
The bounty of food, the recipes, the family’s finest china, the wooden table…
Where did it all come from? Who made them? Who taught them? Where did they learn that? Whose farm grew those vegetables? Who raised the meat? Who butchered it? Where does your water come from? Where does it go when you are done? What river does it flow into? How does that river reach the ocean?
Do you know the answer to these questions?
Do the answers to these questions make you feel proud?
Or does it leave you feeling a bit of shame?
*email goes full circle and ties back to the vegan/hunter paradox*
I believe vegans, hunters, gatherers, fisher(wo)men, and many others share the pride and joy of having a powerful story to their consumption habits.
Take pride in your story and share it with others.
Take a few moments this holiday season to give thanks to your tribe for making life so joyous.
And if you are someone who feels shame, remember Dr. Brené Brown’s words, “shame needs secrecy, silence and judgment to thrive. That’s why by far the best way to deal with shame is to practice courage and reach out. Shame loses power when it’s spoken, and thrives in isolation and secrecy."
The three most powerful weapons against shame are:
Courage – to share your stories and be who you are
Compassion – towards yourself and others
Connection – together with love and belonging
1st Olympic Triathlon! Total Time 03:06:16
Quote I am pondering— “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams
Sonder /ˈsändər/ - n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
"Sonder. You are the main character—the protagonist—the star at the center of your own unfolding story. You're surrounded by your supporting cast: friends and family hanging in your immediate orbit.
Scattered a little further out, a network of acquaintances who drift in and out of contact over the years.
But there in the background, faint and out of focus, are the extras. The random passersby. Each living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
They carry on invisibly around you, bearing the accumulated weight of their own ambitions, friends, routines, mistakes, worries, triumphs and inherited craziness.
When your life moves on to the next scene, theirs flickers in place, wrapped in a cloud of backstory and inside jokes and characters strung together with countless other stories you'll never be able to see. That you'll never know exists.
In which you might appear only once. As an extra sipping coffee in the background. As a blur of traffic passing on the highway. As a lighted window at dusk."
And just remember, always wait to call your dog.
For the past three years (for me) and the past thirty years (for Dad and his cousin Carl), the Galloways have been pursuing American Woodcock and Grouse (upland game birds) in the Northwoods of Michigan.
For the unacquainted, upland birds are generally pursued with the assistance of hunting dogs. Typically, the hunting dog of choice is a setter (e.g. English Setter) or a pointer (e.g. German Shorthaired Pointer). Countless books, poems, and painting have been drafted specifically about the beauty and lure of bird hunting in the fall…
But last week the dog taught me a true life lesson.
For reasons not worth delving into, last week I was hunting over Dad’s English Setter “Ivy” without Dad. And it was (more than) a little odd. I was unsure if Ivy would hunt for me, if she would listen to my commands, and if she would leave me to chase dad's scent (hunting a ¼ mile away).
It is easy to think when the dog is running far far away, hunting the same cover for the 10th time, or trotting along the walking trail that she has lost her marbles and needs a commandment to reign her back in.
It is easy to think we are in control.
And without exception, every time my doubt starts to creep in, she finds another bird and I humbly follow her lead.
Ivy hunted methodically from cover-to-cover that morning. She did not need commands. She did not need Dad, me, or anyone else to know she should tactfully approach from the leeward side which led to nearly twenty successful points.
Always wait to call your dog. Trust your dog.
Be curious. Not judgmental. Trust your tribe. There is always more to the story.
Don’t think less of yourself. Think about yourself less.
Fun fact: Gun dogs date back to the 14th century. Once the dogs locate prey, they stop mid-walk and point (i.e. “pointers”) its entire body in the direction of the prey, so the hunter can sneap up and shoot the prey. The “setter” moniker came from the original dog’s behavior, laying down (or “setting”) after locating game, so the hunter could throw a net over the prey without tangling in the dog.
[Also, Dad has put countless hours into training Ivy and that should not be lost in consideration here. Thank you, Dad.]