I have missed you, my cherished readers. And I have missed sitting down at the computer nearly every day to contribute in some small way to our common goal of liberation for all species caught in the sticky web of human greed and desires. Using the undeniable facts, as well as my own personal perspective and life, I seek to relay the thoughts and feelings of these exploited beings. I strive to share the beauty and the horror, both of which I witness collectively and individually on social media, in the material I read, in the marches and vigils I attend and at the Farmed Animal Sanctuaries I visit.
So, it is tough for me to be away from my advocacy and activism for any reason. You see, I believe that the more we talk about the exploitation and the more we advocate, the closer we come to raising awareness, to reaching mainstream media and to creating a groundswell that will be unstoppable. And I pray to all that is reasonable in this life, that the mass exploitation of other species by humans implodes, leaving behind a kinder, more compassionate society on this earth, a society in which all living beings are privileged and rightful members.
But, as the saying goes:
Into everyone’s life a little rain shall fall.
And, believe you me I have had more than a little rain pelting down on my physical self this past year. Allow me to explain via a beloved and hapless character, Joe Btfsplk from the now defunct, but not forgotten comic strip, Li’l Abner, created and penned by Al Capp.
He (Joe Btfsplk) is well-meaning, but is the world’s worst jinx, bringing disastrous misfortune to everyone around him. A small, dark rain cloud perpetually hovers over his head to symbolize his bad luck. Hapless Btfsplk and his ever-present cloud became one of the most iconic images in Li’l Abner.
It took this latest and unfortunate turn of events for me to suddenly realize that hapless Joe has been following me around for quite some time, wreaking havoc wherever I go, even when I am trying to do some good.
No good deed goes unpunished.
This past June we arrived on a beautiful clear, summer Sunday morning, ten minutes ahead of schedule and as we sat in our car at the front gate, I was close to tears. Not because I am starstruck, but rather because I appreciate and seek out peace, compassion, kindness and justice in this anger riddled world. And what better place to find my bliss than at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary?
We were there to volunteer and I admit to being more than a little concerned about going. I was still recovering from a leg injury that had plagued me for much of the winter. I did not want to let anyone down by being unable to participate to the fullest. And I definitely did not want to get another boo-boo that might have the potential of plaguing me for much of the summer- No siree bob-arooney! But, after a lot of worry, I decided that I was up to the task and forged ahead.
As the gate was opened by another volunteer and we followed the signs to the designated parking area, I knew almost instantly that I had made the right decision. We gathered up work gloves and boots, sunscreen, bug repellent, water and hats and headed over to the covered meeting area, which was delightfully appointed with trestle tables and seats fashioned from bales of hay and planks of wood.
A warm welcome was extended to us by seasoned volunteers and by Andrea, who is a member of the HEEFS team. Complementary hot and cold beverages were offered as we milled around waiting for the daily tasks to begin. Richard, the carb loving rooster and Welcome Dog Ambassadors, Reuben and Shelby sauntered by and joined our fledgling group. We were informed that Shelby, who is the elder, rules the roost and make the rules for her animal companions who live with her in their home. I presume this includes the somewhat elusive Esther, who had not yet made her presence known.
As I sat there and listened to the convivial banter, I gradually became aware of the sweet smell of kindness and acceptance that was wafting through the air. Hard to find at a farm which provides sanctuary to the exploited, you say? After all, where there are farmed animals, there is manure. But no, that sweet smell, while not overpowering, was all encompassing in a tranquil sort of way. At that moment in time, I was blessed with a feeling that I was at the warmest and most welcoming place on earth.
And for those of you who are starstruck (and that is perfectly amazing if you are), Steve did say a quick, heartfelt “Good Morning” while bound for an unnamed task. Some moments later, a cover-alled, beverage carrying Derek headed our way and sat down to chat. We did not talk about anything in particular (except for the pink Johnny-On-The-Spot), but generally introduced ourselves and learned about the day and how things go when one volunteers. As my mother would always say when something fun was going on:
My tummy is tickling.
I was filled with gleeful anticipation as we helped out and chatted with the other volunteers. We began with what is euphemistically referred to as “sweeping the property”. We chose our shovels and rakes and picked up and put into garbage pails, little, and not so little, packages of poop that had been lovingly deposited by the residents — in the yard, near the barn and in the outdoor pens where the residents spend much of their time. Following that, I washed dishes in the barn – food containers, pails and the like, while listening to classical music which I can only presume is played for the residents who abide there. We then headed into the Enchanted Forest to cut back some brush.
And this, my friends is where the shit hit the fan and my wonderful day abruptly ended, even before tucking into our plant based picnic. Next thing I knew I had tripped on an innocuous something or other on the dirt path on which I was standing and found myself lying on my back in the woods, with what was most assuredly a broken wrist. With great sadness, disappointment and pain, I was kindly escorted to the car by my husband and Andrea and sent on my way to what is an ongoing period of recovery. As we drove slowly down the lane way and out through the gate, I said to myself, with tears silently running down my face:
I will be back
…..happily picking up poop, washing piggy dishes, cutting brush and hopefully making friends with Esther and all of her friends at what seems to me to be the sweetest place on earth.
Annie’s Vegan View
Know that you can and do make a difference with every conscious act of kindness.
Volunteer, speak up and tell people that other species do have voices and that they are imploring us to set them free!!!
May all beings be happy and free.