Patience of the Animals


On a train travelling through the English countryside, the train window framing the scenery.  Here is a sky full of bands of dark rain-laden clouds, here a spring green field, and here a horse in a bright blue blanket.  The gorse is blooming, and there are many animals: huge numbers of sheep, as though we were shaving the trees from the hills and turning them into sheep, herds of cattle, horses, a few geese.  At the edge of the frame two deer bound.  I am struck by the patience of the animals.  We made a pact with them, which we break when we abuse them, when we refuse to give them a proper life before we use them.  Our part of the bargain was to treat them with kindness, shield them from pain and fear, keep them safe from wolves and starvation, providing a good and painless death whereupon they would become part of the human substance.  How we have betrayed these creatures!

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