On eatin#8217;

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 9, 2007

There’s something about livestock on a farm that just seems to fit.

Cattle and hogs and sunsets and corn fields and everything in between. And sometimes just watching those cattle late in the evening has a way of draining a little bit of the stress out of life.

Just the way those cows wander around eatin’ and sleepin’ and not demanding a lot out of life kinda’ leans across that fence and does the same for you.

How can a man not relax when he’s surrounded by fifty cows just taking their time?

It all seems quite peaceful as long as there are a couple things around. Let these two go lacking, and the whole picture changes. Let them get short on either feed or water and they’ll make noise all night long. Without these, they’ll find every hole in your fence and every unfastened gate.

Which brings us to an interesting observation. For some reason we were all made to need something outside of ourselves. We were not made self-sufficient creations.

About three times a day (and some of us more often) we go through this ritual whereby we buy/grow/trade for/find some type of matter and actually take it into our bodies. And it somehow becomes a part of us. And a few hours later we find ourselves doing this same thing again.

From the first cry of that hungry baby to the last morsel that slides down that older gentleman’s throat, we are virtual slaves to this pastime. I personally know of no man not involved in this activity.

My guess is that whoever designed us as such had something in mind. For some reason, He wanted it this way. For some reason, He did not give us a battery good for about 80 years, but rather engineered our inner workings such that we are continually reminded of our need.

Our lives are so dependent on ingesting other aspects of creation that our very survival depends on it. Simply put, we must have something other than us. And we are in some ways wedded to it.

Consider that first strawberry in the spring. Think of the first ear of corn-on-the-cob in July. Can you not taste that fresh watermelon in August? Not to mention that first picking of butterbeans cooked in fatback.

In fact, this love affair is so pleasurable that it is around the table we both celebrate and commemorate.

It is the meal that calls mortals together.

It slows us down from such a torrid pace and brings opportunity for both interaction and reflection. It halts us, diverts us and reminds us. Value this sacred ritual.

Savor it. We were made to enjoy it.

Now if I could just figure out, like that cow, how to chew my cud.

I could enjoy that food all over again.

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is rexalphin@aol.com.