Menory Lane - From a Small Root...

Mother - the encourager, the lover of environment, the questioner of logic, the fund of talent - gave me the flower press for my 18th birthday. Until then, it had been tissue paper and leather-bound books. Effective but cumbersome. I went through a phase of creating pictures from the pressings, in the way Victorians once used butterfly wings. Was it any less cruel to pluck a flower from its rooting-ground and squidge the life-juice from it? Was not the ripping of petal from stamen an act of destruction?

Unquestionably, yes. Therefore, when having the barbs of 'vegetarians kill too' thrown about, it can seem like 'case closed' by those with the smug looks on their faces. However it is necessary to balance the argument against the path of least harm.

Quite simply, all living things must survive. Within the bounds of survival, there are categories of 'life'. The category 'stone life' - minerals and liquids - all contain energetic properties which sustain life, but do not of themselves require sustenance. The category 'plant life' - all vegetation from the simplest fungus through to the mightiest trees - take sustenance from the minerals and liquids, they have minimal responses to light and to the climate, but have no purpose other than to form the environment for and provide sustenance to higher-functioning life forms. The category 'animal life' - all creatures from the amoeba of the sludge up to and including the human - have many and varied responses to their environment. They require the minerals, the water and the plants for sustenance.

Much of animal life gains sustenance only from plant life. However, as diverse species emerged, eaters of flesh arose. What started that? Competition for some juicy leaf resulting in blood shed - then development of a taste for it? Then specialisation and emergence of carnivores. What a strange creature is Man, though. Above all other critters, the human understands the place of food beyond mere survival; has developed such an adapted gut that multiple foods and endless tastes are required to satisfy the tongue. Whole cultures are based upon their food, its source, its presentation, how it is eaten.

The human animal has the tool called 'choice'. Other animals may have it to some limited degree - those who specialise in one fruit or another tend towards extinction when that food source becomes contaminated or is also erased. The human makes choices.

To maintain life, sustenance is required. Each human has the opportunity to choose. That can either be an intelligent, well-researched choice, resulting in a decision which causes the maximum benefit to the chooser with the least amount of disturbance or distress to others; or it can be driven by the pure animal instinct - no matter how many pretty words we put around it, the decision will be self-serving and hold possibility of damage to others.

Mother posed such questions. She herself tended to a more vegetarian preference. Her butter bean casseroles were as much part of our childhood as any shepherd's pie - and equally, if not wholly, preferred. From the 'small roots' of her really rather big ethical analyses at the kitchen table, we learned to think beyond the bean.


In the giving of a flower press, thought for the life taken was all that was asked in return.

Today would have been her 80th birthday. Gone, but not forgotten.

5 comments:

  1. OH MY.... what a GRAND Tribute to woman who was obviously Wise and Quite REMARKABLE.

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  2. Blessings for your mother's life today! It is amazing when you really look at the impact one's eating choices have made on the development of mankind and society!

    Happy National Puppy Day!

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

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  3. What a lovely tribute Aunty Yam, I would so luff to had meet the wonderful lady that made you the kind person we all luffs today
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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  4. Wonderful to remember and honour your mother this way.
    Cheers, Gail.

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  5. you found the best words with this wonderful post... hugs to you

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