I think I'm an addict.
To get through a day I must have coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. As in, might as well put in an intravenous of the good stuff and call it a day.
And I cannot go to a party without a having a glass of wine, or two, or three.
Of course, that's nowhere close to those struggling with opiates or battling addiction to a variation of legal and illegal substances.
Not being able to function without something = dependence. Which is the opposite of true freedom.
One thing that I am addicted to and gave up, starting yesterday, was meat. I don't eat pork anyway (hate the taste) so that means no more beef and no more chicken.
Well this past Sunday we went to see the travelling St. Petersburg Circus and the animal menagerie broke my heart. The donkeys looked depressed, the elephants' tusks were missing, the toy ponies moved like robots and the majestic camels were reduced to having whiny little kids riding on them. The llamas looked scratched and the ears of the elephants were like tattered book pages.
When I visited Kenya last year, I spent an afternoon at the David Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary and saw baby elephants whose parents had been poached, murdered. These babies were bottle fed by the volunteers and had this stubble of hair that stuck straight out. We got to touch them. And they looked healthy and happy. In time, they would be readjusted back into the wild. Hopefully not to be killed.
The sanctuary elephants in Kenya were not like the circus elephants. The circus elephants and all the animals performing for us had lost their spirits.
And I have lost my appetite for seeing life in captivity, and for seeing it on my dinner plate.
No more circuses and no more meat.
I am going to turn to my friend Allison who was born into a vegetarian family and has never eaten meat. Ever. What it must be like, to have only been fed by nutrients in plants, fruit, and grains?
Well, we're about to find out.