All's quiet on the farm. (Except for those baby chicks who think it's funny when we chase them each evening in the dark to get them back in their coop, safe and sound.)
Seriously, there is a void on the farm. Our pigs are gone, and the sounds of them frolicking in the woods, eating their feed, moving around in their hut, running up to Jason each morning... all gone. I felt this void last year, too, after we shipped our pigs off to a slaughterhouse to come back as delicious, packaged protein that we thoroughly enjoyed and shared all year long.
But this year's feeling is different, because this year's slaughter was different. There was no shipping off. There were intense, intimate moments with our three pigs up until their slaughter and even just after. With the help of a skilled friend, we took the lives of "the brown one," "Brigitte" and "the other one," as I so affectionately called them. Images from that morning are, thankfully, now ingrained in me. I will never be the same. Which sounds dramatic. But I only wish people could still have such real experiences with life and nature and death in order to grow and situate themselves appropriately in the world and in existence.
When the three of them were dead - when there was silence - I felt so conflicted. I felt respect, joy, sadness, relief, guilt... but mostly I felt love (again, dramatic - but true). I wanted so badly to hug my kid right after the deeds were done (only after I hugged those pigs, of course).
I can't express how thankful I am to have had this experience.
Now 5 days later, after we butchered the pigs under the tutelage of a master butcher right in our very own garage, after we vacuum sealed all of our precise cuts until midnight that evening, and after I cooked up a delicious country-style pork chop for dinner the next day, I'm expecting the cold weather to set in for a winter of rest and reflection.