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Bambi in My Belly

posted at 1:57 am
on Dec. 29, 2008

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A Happy, Happy Pre-Christmas

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Dear Residents of Shaughnessy

Update: Apparently, I ate a FAWN, not a FAUN.  That is all.

Boris had an open house at his parents’ place on Bowen Island.

Getting there was so so fun: There’s a new, regularly scheduled water taxi from Granville Island that leaves about every hour and takes up to 11 people, for $25 round trip.  For that price, I should go every week!

Boris’ mom was clearing a path in the snow in their backyard, and found a small fawn that had frozen to death.  So Boris and James decided they were going to clean it.

(Cleaning it means gutting it, hanging it, bleeding it, skinning it and butchering it. You know, so it’s clean.)

The fawn weighed about 40 pounds, I’d guess, about 1/3 of which was its stomach.  This was a well-fed, healthy animal that was just too small to make it through the remarkably cold snap and deep snows that have hit B.C. this Christmas.

We finished the cleaning, through the head and hoovers and innards aside for scavengers, and took the ropes, knives, hacksaw and venison (for at this point, it was indisputably not a fawn any more) and headed back down to the house.

James Sherrett is, I now firmly believe, a Canadian master of wild food preparation.  There are, I (and he) will freely admit, better chefs in the world.  But here’s a man who can start with nothing but his jacket and gloves and boots, and head out into the woods, and come back with food.

And then make that raw food into something special, something wonderful something that reminds you of how connected we are to the things we eat—how we, ourselves, are food that happens to think.

The various cuts of venison that we ate were all remarkable and delicious—from the simply saut?ed heart, to the multi-layered flank with dried apricot and tomato mustard, to the shank braised in Czechoslovakian cabbage soup.

The group that assembled there was as diverse as Boris’ newest office mate and his oldest friend from pre-school, from his next door neighbours to a German programmer.  But with wine and friendship and laughter, we celebrated the Christmas spirit.

Boris’ dad Horst told me about his upcoming trek / pilgrimage across Spain, and Degan took the deerskin and put it in a trash bag to get it tanned and eventually made into something warm and wonderful.

I told my sister about eating the fawn, and she said that it was so sad, she wouldn’t have been able to eat it.

I said, it seemed that way to me at first, too.  But by the time it came time to eat it, I realized that in fact, it was a happy gift, a beautiful example of the bounty that can show up in our lives unannounced, covered by the snow, waiting for us to find it, realize it for what it is, and take strength and comfort and joy in what has been provided.

Thanks, Boris, and thanks, deer, for showing me what Christmas Spirit is truly all about.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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