Friday, November 12, 2010

Giving thanks

When I looked down at the 220 pound boar I had just shot and killed, I was filled with awe and gratitude to this animal that had just given itself over to me. I had brought the pig down with my first shot, one shot directly to his lungs, killing him almost instantly. This is what I had been taught to do and, somehow, although the scene had been chaotic, I managed to do it. I knew it was true, and yet it was hard to believe.

I found instantly that, having killed the boar, I was not afraid of him, or repulsed by him. Instead, I felt somehow close to him. I immediately felt easy about touching his body, which was a good thing, because very soon, I had to help move his body, and then I performed a procedure called "field dressing." This means the removal of the internal organs. It is done in order to cool the body temperature so as to preserve the meat. I had prepared for this, and I had our guide showing me the way.

Even so, cutting through the layers of membranes and then slowly revealing the miraculous beauty of this creature's inner makeup was astonishing. At a certain point, my task was to reach into the chest cavity in order to cut the diaphragm free. I needed to do this with both my arms. It was that kind of experience, and it went on from there.

After the field dressing, the guide and I dragged the body to the 4-wheel drive vehicle, and we drove to the skinning shed. There he and I skinned what I really now started to think of as a carcass. The guide then quartered it. This made it into pieces small enough to get into my cooler.

I came back home that night and the next day started butchering those big pieces into pork chops, tenderloin roasts, ribs, packages of pork shoulder, and so forth. Tomorrow, I'm going to make sausages with the leg meat, because I don't have a smoker to make ham, and wild pigs don't have enough fat to produce the right meat for bacon.

Knowing where this meat came from, where the pig lived and what he ate, informs how I feel about all the meat I have in the freezer now. The pig has changed me.

Thank you pig.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really great post. Thank you pig, and thank you Joan!



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