Risen from the stench of the manure pile-even though it seemed for a moment to have escaped it in a flight of angelic and lyrical purity-the flower seems to relapse abruptly into its original squalor: the most ideal is rapidly reduced to a wisp of aerial manure. For flowers do not age honestly like leaves, which lose nothing of their beauty, even after they have died; flowers wither like old and overly made-up dowagers, and they die ridiculously on stems that seemed to carry them to the clouds.
Georges Bataille, “The Language of Flowers” in Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939
Wilbur burst into tears. “I dont want to die,” he moaned. “I want to stay alive, right here in my comfortable manure pile with all my friends. I want to breathe the beautiful air and lie in the beautiful sun.” — E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Their eyes are never quiet, they may not speak our language, but their expressions tell us everything. They are aware of what awaits them and they know that their time is running out. Their dreams of being liberated and being able to run with joy will soon end, those dreams they thought of, will never come true, for their lives will be tragically stolen from them.
Don’t continue your participation in animal exploitation.
Think. Grow. Evolve. Go vegan. Photographed by Igualdad Animal.
“And what makes you think I want to be married to anybody at all?”
His mouth dropped open.
“Want?” he said incredulously. “And what has want to do with it?”
“Everything!” She stamped her foot.
“Now there you’re wrong, lassie,” he advised her, turning to pick up his fork. He eyed her stomach with a nod. “You’ve a bairn coming, who needs a name. Your time to be choosy is long since past, aye?”
He dug his fork into the pile of manure and heaved the load into the waiting barrow, then dug again, with a smooth economy of motion born of years of labor.
“Now, Ian’s a sweet-tempered lad, and a hard worker,” he said, eyes on his task. “He’s got his own land; he’ll have mine, too, in time, and that will—”
“I am not going to marry anybody!” Brianna drew herself up to her full height, fists balled at her sides, and spoke in a voice loud enough to disturb the bats in the corners of the ceiling. One small dark form detached itself from the shadows and flittered out into the gathering dusk, ignored by the combatants underneath.
“Well, then, make your own choice,” Jamie said shortly. “And I wish ye well of it!”
“You…are…not…listening!” Brianna said, grinding each word between her teeth. “I’ve made my choice. I said I won’t…marry…anyone!” She punctuated this with another stamp of her foot.
Jamie thrust the fork into the pile with a thump. He straightened up and eyed Brianna, rubbing his fist across his jaw.
“Aye, well. I seem to recall hearin’ a verra similar opinion expressed by your mother—the night before our wedding. I havena asked her lately does she regret bein’ forced to wed me or not, but I flatter myself she’s maybe not been miserable altogether. Perhaps ye should go and have a word wi’ her?”
“It’s not the same thing at all!” Brianna snapped.
“No, it’s not,” Jamie agreed, keeping a firm grip on his temper. The sun was low behind the hills, flooding the stable with a golden light in which the creeping tide of red in his skin was nonetheless quite visible. Still, he was making every attempt to be reasonable.
“Your mother wed me to save her life—and mine. It was a brave thing she did, and generous, too. I’ll grant it’s no a matter of life or death, but—have ye no idea what it is to live branded as a wanton—or as a fatherless bastard, come to that?”
Seeing her expression falter slightly at this, he pressed his advantage, stretching out a hand to her and speaking kindly.
“Come, lassie. Can ye not bring yourself to do it for the bairn’s sake?”
Her face tightened again and she stepped back.
“No,” she said, sounding strangled. “No. I can’t.”
He dropped his hand. I could see them both, despite the fading light, and saw the danger signs all too clearly, in the narrowing of his eyes and the set of his shoulders, squared for battle. “Is that how Frank Randall raised ye, lass, to have no regard for what’s right or wrong?”
Brianna was trembling all over, like a horse that’s run too far.
“My father always did what was right for me! And he would never have tried to pull something like this!” she said. “Never! He cared about me!”
At this, Jamie finally lost his temper, which went off with a bang.
“And I don’t?” he said. “I am not trying my best to do what’s right for ye? In spite of your being—”
“Jamie—” I turned toward him, saw his eyes gone black with anger, and turned toward her. “Bree—I know he didn’t—you have to understand—”
“Of all the reckless, thoughtless, selfish ways in which to behave!”
“You self-righteous, insensitive bastard!”
“Bastard! Ye’ll call me a bastard, and your belly swellin’ like a pumpkin with a child that ye mean to doom to finger-pointing and calumny for all its days, and—”
“Anybody points a finger at my child, and I’ll break it off and stuff it down their throat!”
“Ye senseless wee besom! Have ye no the faintest notion o’ how things are? Ye’ll be a scandal and a hissing! Folk will call ye whore to your face!”
“Let them try it!”
“Oh, let them try it? And ye mean me to stand by and listen, I suppose?”
“It’s not your job to defend me!”
He was so furious that his face went white as fresh-bleached muslin.
“Not my job to defend you? For Christ’s sake, woman, who else is meant to do it?”
Ian tugged gently on my arm, drawing me back.
“Ye’ve only the twa choices now, Auntie,” he murmured in my ear. “Douse them both wi’ a pan o’ cold water, or come away with me and leave them to it. I’ve seen Uncle Jamie and my Mam go at it before. Believe me, ye dinna want to step between two Frasers wi’ their dander up. My Da said he’s tried once or twice, and got the scars to prove it.”
I took a final glance at the situation and gave up. He was right; they were nose to nose, red hair bristling and eyes slitted like a couple of bobcats, circling, spitting and snarling. I could have set the hay on fire, and neither one would have spared an instant’s notice.
It seemed remarkably quiet and peaceful outside. A whippoorwill sang in the aspen grove, and the wind was in the east, carrying the faint sounds of the waterfall to us. By the time we reached the dooryard, we couldn’t hear the shouting anymore.
“Dinna be worrit, Auntie,” Ian said comfortingly. “They’ll get hungry, sooner or later.”
The Story of Job: How Yahweh Wins a Bar Bet with Satan
The book of Job in the Hebrew Bible is unique. It seeks to explain why bad things happen to good people. The evidence suggests that it was an ancient tale from Sumer which found its way into the Bible through Babylon. It is interesting to note that this is the ONLY place in the Bible where Satan has the power to harm people directly rather than as a tempter leading them astray.
Satan in this story is not the snake from Eden nor his he the goat legged horned creature we now associate with “the devil”. Satan means adversary in the sense of a prosecuting attorney. Satan literally bets God that Job a good man, a prosperous man only loves God because God gives him things and will curse God if they are taken from him. So, God grants Satan the power to take it all away which he does. Job loses his flocks and servants to fire from heaven, his children through a tempest. Then Job is afflicted with boils and reduced to sitting naked on a pile of manure.
Never does Job curse God. Instead he evokes God through an ancient Hebrew spell and demands to be put on trial and claims his innocence. This was back in the days when you could summon God with the right words. God duly shows up but God never answers him but says “where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth? This shuts Job up and he realizes that he is nothing compared to God. He has a spiritual transformation. Incidentally this section of the book contains some of the most poetic and beautiful language in the entire Bible.
Now, this is where the original story ends but later scholars tacked on a Hollywood ending where Job gets it all back and lives another 140 years as a great leader of his people. What is the moral of this strange story? It is that when bad things happen to good people we must accept them and bear them with patience, the patience of Job. Acceptance and non clinging to material things. A very Buddhist concept found in this ancient Jewish tale.