The Host and the Kill


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Time to get back with the program.

I found him in the morning while walking Mango. He lay on the side of the road at the other end of the 40 acres, his body fully intact. His chest cavity still had a trace of warmth, though rigor mortis had started to set in. Without any real clear intent, I picked him up, much to the chagrin of a waiting turkey vulture that immediately took flight.

I thought he was beautiful. He was heavy, heavier than one might think. Carrying his dead body, he felt something like a small dog. The pelt was thick, and the tail less pliable than it looks. His teeth and claws are predatory, ready to sink into any small vole – or wounded raven, perhaps – that he might happen across.

It all led to the basic question that ultimately faces everything: how best to send him on?

I could bury him, though that seemed respectful only in our world in which we seek to hide the look and stink of death. A waste of a perfectly good carcass, as Kerry Hardy would put it. I could gut him and do something with the luscious pelt, but I felt his native form was too beautiful to render into ornamentation. I could only screw it up. Kerry suggested eating him. Anna, of course, was worried about hydrophobia.

It took a good day for the answer to present itself.

This morning I drew a knife neatly down the middle of his chest and peeled back the pelt revealing the rose bloom of his chest. Lacking animus, his body now existed nearly exclusively as matter. But not quite. His matter still contains resident within a potency. We call it vitality. Enough that other creatures may seek to take it and draw it into their own.

We call this eating. On one side of the divide: sacrifice. On the other, rendered by consumption, it becomes the sacrament and the eater the sanctified.

Isn’t that ultimately what it meant in the transformation of the Host?

I took the body of that poor coon and splayed it on the roof of the old chicken barn out beyond our house. It’s within clear line of sight of our deck and bedroom windows. In a few days it will begin to stink.

If I’m lucky, the neighboring creatures will be hungry enough to overcome the fear of this place and of us. You all are welcome here I say to them. To the ravens. To the crows and vultures. To all the scavengers. I want them to come to this home and feed.

It really is time for me to get on with it. We have a wonderful home. And I’m back in it.

Here’s the invite. If you’re wild, I’ll feed you raccoon.

For the rest of you, I have a table to build. And things to grow. And kill. And render. It will be beautiful and delicious.

Come. You’re all welcome. It’s time to sate the hunger.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Host and the Kill

  1. i’m relieved.. it seemed like you might deny the turkey vulture a good meal and i think the animus enjoys passing through the liver of the sanctified.. of course the the turkey vulture would likely prefer a big mac, but considering the exponential rise of type 2 diabetes in avian scavengers i think you played it right…
    we look forward to visiting your table next weekish.. i’ll bring some cholula…

  2. A very traditional and beautiful look at life and death. I too feed the wild animals and birds in my humble little house in the woods, it feeds my belief that what I take I need to return in the spirit of the circle of life.

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