To eat or what to eat, that is the question…

Leafing through my collection of articles about Nature, I’ve stumbled upon one concerning the way plants communicate between each-other. If there is a part of the living world underrated and overlooked, then the Vegetal kingdom surely is. That we share no great interest, respect and consideration towards it comes probably from our closer connection to our next to kin, the animals.

    There is a trendy and heated debate nowadays between meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans. I’ve read over the years a lot of mind-blowing stupidities used as arguments and I have witnessed mindless rage and hatred, lack of understanding, of mutual respect in the clashes over this topic: what should we eat?

“ I will not put dead animals in my mouth!” -shouted some people. Really? I hope you are not putting living ones either; I don’t find that a better option. So, if you don’t want to get animals killed in order to feed yourself, then the only feasible solution (for now) is to eat plants,fruits, vegetables.

  Well, my dear fellow human, plants are living organisms too. When you cut them down, they die. They might not bleed with shocking red blood, but they die. We don’t even know how it feels for them to die. They might not scream, they might not run away (they can’t), you might not witness the light going out in their moist eyes…but they die anyway. Silently. Or perhaps not. We don’t know yet. And when you eat plants, vegetables, fruits picked, plucked, cut off from their stems/branches, you eat dead organisms. They die and start decomposing the moment they’ve lost contact with their feeding roots. So if you don’t want dead animals in your mouth, you can have dead plants instead.

“ But plants are not our next to kin!” -you would argue. Seriously? As far as science is concerned, living organism split in two evolutionary directions, plants and animals at one point in time; but till then, life came a long way as one.

   We came to learn about the intricacy of plants life in recent years and from what I’ve read till now, it’s no less intriguing, amazing, awesome than animal life. I’m certain that we’re in for big surprises in this area of scientific research. So what can we do now? Should we give up on eating animals and plants too? That would be an utterly stupid decision.

   We, as humans, we belong to the Animal kingdom and we are, by our nature, meat and vegetable eaters. Just like most of other animals, we feed on other living organisms in order to live, grow, thrive, survive. We cannot change that, not for now and not without radically changing, or even giving up on what we are. So maybe we should accept ourselves and re-learn how to respect all that keeps us alive, animals and plants. In the best manner of our evolving humanity, we should humble before their unwilling sacrifice and try at least to make it less brutal.

Maybe we should remember the way people like the First Nation used to honor the animals they hunted, honored the plants they grew  or gathered from Nature.

  Maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll become so changed that we could take the necessary energy to live  the way plants do, using minerals and sunlight. But then, that human being will be an entirely different creature, hardly resembling to the top animal we are now. That’s a long,  a very long perspective.

   What should we do now? Eat your meal ( whatever it is), be thankful for it and shut up! Use your energies for things worth fighting for, use your energies to build bridges with your fellow humans and together, let’s make this planet a home for all. Humans,animals and plants, all together.

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The Lost Butterfly-a story of aliens, love and humans.Chapter 3. In the mountains (3a)

Ch.3a

Yoshiasu and Fuyuki had long before decided to spend their summer vacation in the mountains. They rented a car and a cabin in a very remote place, close to the one of the Native counties. The place was wild and almost untouched, so they’ve  found great joy in discovering  brand new spots of unharmed beauty.  The first days in the mountains went on eventless: it was just them and Mother Nature in all her splendour. Although after 3 or 4 days they’ve lost communication with the outer world due to a huge solar flare, they were not concerned. They had enough provisions and they knew that communications would be fixed sooner or later.

 But problems strike when they are least expected; at first,the trip started well and the weather was fine. They ventured far enough but there were no reasons to worry; not until Yoshiasu slipped on some rotten leaves and lost balance. Instinctively he grabbed a branch but he also closed hand over something/ somebody unhappy about that. The tiny creature bit the hand that came upon it and ran away as the man gave a cry and released the branch. The small red bite mark was sore. In less than an hour the pain grew more intense and the hand became red and swollen.

Suddenly Yoshiasu felt sick and was sweating profusely. Before they could realize what was really happening, Yoshiasu lost consciousness, leaving Fuyuki scared to death and desperate. They were in the middle of the wilderness and Yoshiasu looked badly. Fuyuki calmed down and tried to take some measures. He laid down Yoshiasu on a higher ground; he put his coat over him and the rucksack under his neck. He garroted the swollen hand to stop the poison to diffuse in the bloodstream. He made a mental notice of the place and descended to the nearby rivulet to look for some plants.

He was so absorbed in his search that he didn’t notice the old man that was approaching him. He only became aware of his presence when he heard him call out:

-Are you looking for something? Can I help you?

Fuyuki looked up and stared slightly confused into the wrinkled and suntanned face from which two piercing black eyes were fixing him. On the other hand, the old man himself looked surprised at the flushed young face with wide, worried eyes.

-Could you help me?! My friend was bit by something and now he’s lost consciousness…Please!

-Was it a snake?-asked the old man.

-No! Rather like a small spider but it fled before we could see it. Help me, please! I’m afraid that I might lose him…

They both hurried to the place where Yoshiasu was lying. His condition was the same. The old man studied the hand and the bite mark and mumbled something. He then made a quick decision; he took Fuyuki and they fetched some materials for a stretcher, tied Yoshiasu on the improvised transport facility and they proceeded downhill.

Old John Whitefeather was very old indeed and during summer he lived here alone in his hogan. He had a few sheep and some horses but his main activity was that of medicine-man. From spring till late autumn he was collecting herbs and fruits for various healing potions and ointments. That da,y he was out collecting some plants when he spotted the franticaly searching young fellow. Since tourists were scarce on this area, an instinct of a lifetime told him that this particular person was in trouble.

The spider bite wasn’t lethal but it was nasty; it was both painful and persistent and it looked like this young man was overreacting to some of the poison components. Old John offered to help and thus he learned that the two young men were a couple and that they were in vacation. Old John was surprised to see the amount of strength that fragile looking young man could put up to help his companion.

While preparing an ointment and some herbal tea, he took a closer look on Fuyuki. Almost everything about this young man was deceiving: he was an almost feminine beauty, with very unusual lavender-blue eyes; he was slender and well built but looked fragile and vulnerable. He was soft spoken but he wasn’t tiring or complaining about anything. He had no eyes but for his suffering companion but he had a sharp attention to everything Old John was saying. So despite the first impression that he was made of glass and that he might shatter  any moment, he proved to be calm and resilient and deeply dedicated.

Old John cleaned the bite mark, put an ointment and  he bandaged the swollen hand, showing Fuyuki how to do it. It was Fuyuki’s task to change the bandages until the hand would return to its normal aspect. While Fuyuki guarded Yoshiasu, wiping the sweat from his face, Old John made a strong tea from a concoction of herbs and roots and let it cool. The dark-brown liquid was having a strong smell and an even stronger taste; but for Yoshiasu it was the only hope to overcome the poisoning.

Every fifteen minutes Fuyuki forced down his throat 2-3 spoonful of the tea. This went on and on, day and night until the redness subsided on Yoshiasu’s hand and he’s got back from the unconsciousness. The first thing he saw, opening hazed eyes on the world after days of struggle, was the thinned face of Fuyuki and his worried eyes.

-What happened?-he whispered. His throat was sore and dry and his head was still heavy.

-You’ve been bitten by a nasty little thing when you fell on the slope. Luckily this gentleman found us and cured you, getting you back from the shadows-said Fuyuki, his voice trembling from the sudden emotion.

Yoshiasu slowly turned his head towards the other shape; the old, sun beaten face of a venerable Native man, with intelligent, intent black eyes was looking benevolently down on him.

-Welcome back among the living, young man-he said in a deep, throaty voice. You’re back on track; in less than a week you’ll be as  good as new.

-Thank you, sir…whispered Yoshiasu. I never thought that something  so small like that could knock me out.

-I’ve told you: it was small but nasty and it had no sense of humor-said Fuyuki with a playful smile. You have to rest and eat to get back your strength. Luckily you don’t have to eat my cooking; Mr. Whitefeather is cooking delicious meals. All I do is watch and learn; maybe there’s some hope for me in the cooking area…he chuckled.

Old John watched from the corner of his eyes their conversation. It became obvious for him that they were sharing a special relationship; there was a communication beyond words in every gesture and in the lights flickering in their eyes. No matter how unusual it looked to him, love was clearly and visibly connecting the two young men. Old John made a mental note and left them to enjoy each other’s company.

CREATURA (RO)

E toamnă iar. Un vânt subțire mână frunze aurii spre albastrul intens al cerului. Albastru, auriu….Culorile unei amintiri ce nu vrea să pălească.

Eram proaspăt absolvent de exobiologie și sociologie planetară. Preluasem de puțină vreme postul de Observator pe  planeta GX-3, desi aveam unele rezerve  privind politica de neimplicare promovată de  angajatorii mei. Ascuns ȋn spatele hologramei proiectate de stația de observare, urmăream zi  de zi cu o curiozitate crescândă, desfasurarea evenimentelor din zona mea. Asta până  cand….

Creatura ȋsi scoase capul cu precauție prin desișul de sikhra. Ciuli urechile și adulmecă aerul dimineții. Totul părea să fie ȋn ordine.  Se strecură cu grijă printre crengile țepoase și ieși la lumină.

Era suplă și grațioasă; o tanără femelă cu aripi translucide, ȋncă insuficient dezvoltate pentru zbor. Ȋn ciuda diferențelor evidente dintre speciile noastre, o simțeam tulburător de apropiată. Ȋn lumina difuză a toamnei târzii, pielea ei aurie avea un luciu mătăsos, iar ochii ei albaștri, cu pupile reptiliene străluceau intens ȋn fața delicată. Creatura scrută ȋmprejurimile cu simțurile ascuțite la maximum. Părea preocupată de apropierea unui dușman invizibil.

M-am aplecat spre ecran s-o văd mai bine și am mărit imaginea. Ȋn clipa aceea, am simțit cum tremurul lăuntric al acelei ființe ȋndepărtate mi se transmite și mie. O teamă fără chip și nume  ȋmi invadă simțurile și stomacul mi se contractă nervos. Aerul ȋncăperii se umplu de mirosul ȋnțepător de transpirație. Cine  ne urmărea? Cine ne voia răul? Creatura se avântă  si cobora dealul ȋn viteză, căutând scăpare ȋn spatele unui pâlc de arbori răzleți. Vântul ce-i șuiera pe la urechi ȋmi răcori  o clipă obrazul. Am răsuflat adânc cand ea s-a oprit, scrutând valea. Dincolo de petecul de arbori era un drumeag ce se bifurca; ambele drumuri duceau spre așezări umane.

Creatura ezită o clipă, apoi ȋnaintă un pic pe drumul din dreapta. Valul de teroare dinlăuntrul ei m-a luat complet pe nepregătite. Ȋmpins de-un resort lăuntric, am sărit in picioare ca ars, răsturnând totul ȋn calea mea. Inima ȋmi bătea nebunește ȋn piept și preț de cateva clipe, am fost incapabil să mă orientez. Tremurând din toate ȋncheieturile, m-am târat ȋnapoi la scaunul din fața ecranelor și m-am așezat, ȋncercând să mă liniștesc.

“Adună-te!-mi-am strigat. Ea e ȋn pericol, nu tu!”

Mi-am impus să mă calmez și m-am concentrat din nou la protejata mea. Creatura se ȋntorsese din drum și se uita acum ȋn direcția mea. Am ȋnțeles atunci că ea știa că eu sunt acolo, ȋn spatele imaginii ȋnșelătoare, un martor neputincios al tragediei sale. Ȋn clipa aceea, m-am urât pentru neputința mea. N-o puteam ajuta, n-o puteam salva.

Creatura se ȋntoarse și fugi spre stânga, dispărând din raza mea vizuală, lăsându-mă ȋn urmă, scăldat ȋn sudoare rece. A doua zi, mi-am dat demisia din post.

Au trecut ani de atunci dar privirea ei  bântuie  cărările memoriei mele ca un vânt de toamnă.

The Lost Butterfly-a story of aliens,love and humans. The Stalker (2e)

Ch.2e

-I still can’t clearly remember all that happened but I can put two and two together: the way I feel, the gift, the photo and the note…I’ve had enough of this!!!

Fuyuki’s face contorted in pain; Yoshiasu slowly calmed him down. His mind was searching for a solution; he made a long distance call…home. He called detective Harrows and they agreed to talk more on the computer.

-How’s Fuyuki now?- asked the detective.

-Upset and disturbed- came the answer.

-Can I talk to him?

-I think so. Fuyuki, detective Harrows wants to talk to you…Yoshiasu turned to his companion.

The young man sat in front of the computer and greeted the detective. He looked tired and subdued.

-Good evening, Fuyuki. I’m sorry that we speak only on such occasions.

Fuyuki’s face lit up a little; he sighed but the corners of his mouth curved up a little.

-I’ve listened to the recount made by Yoshiasu; I must tell you that this might be harder to prove than your previous one. This guy ( if he’s  the one I suspect  to be) is difficult to catch. He’s not a bragging fool. Do you understand me?

Fuyuki nodded.

-I’ll talk to one of my good friends from there; he’s a retired policeman but he likes to keep his mind working. I’ll let you know; until then, be strong, my young friend.

Fuyuki smiled briefly.

-Thank you, detective. Sorry for being such a nuisance-he said softly.

Fuyuki left Yoshiasu to end the call while he went to the kitchen to fix something to eat for both of them. He’s got so caught in that he realized only later that Yoshiasu was standing in the kitchen door, watching him with an amused but loving smile on his face. Fuyuki reddened.

-I sincerely hope this will be edible- he said. Anyway, there’s nothing else in the fridge, but we still can order Chinese food if you want…

-I’m willing to try your cooking-chuckled Yoshiasu.

Fuyuki smiled; they both set the table. Fuyuki leaned against his companion.

-I feel safe when you’re around-he sighed. I’m sorry; I’m quite a handful….

Yoshiasu kissed him.

-You’re my most precious one. We’ll work this out together; just keep it in mind that I love you.

The next day Yoshiasu called the gallery and excused Fuyuki for at least two or three days. He knew his love was not ready to face that place so soon; they’ve been through this before. Healing required time. Detective Harrow’s friend visited them; he was a kind gentleman and promised to look into this delicate matter.

During this time things were on the move in the outside world to. The man woke up next day with mixed feelings; something was bothering him from inside but he wasn’t ready to admit the feeling. He sent the gift to Fuyuki in an attempt to muffle the regret that was building up inside him; he wanted to prove himself that he didn’t care and that the young man was only a whim for him.

  Yet the same day, he drove his car to the gallery, waiting for hours in the hope to catch a glimpse of the young artist; but he didn’t show up. Nor was he coming the next two days. He wasn’t leaving the house either; the handsome Japanese was at home but his fragile companion was nowhere to be seen.

The man became restless; there was a sense of emptiness and loss building up inside of him, despite his best efforts to ignore it. He drove home and the next day, the five artists received a generous offer of scholarship for each of them. Fuyuki turned down the offer but he was happy for his friends. In less than an hour after that, he received a call from the Foundation for abused Children; they’ve received a very generous funding from an anonymous donor,  a donation made in Fuyuki’s name. Fuyuki smiled; the pain caused by what happened to him was slowly diminishing. The works of art sold well at the exhibition, thanks to all those people they’ve met at the club. The money helped the four young artists to fulfill their dreams and opened new opportunities for each of them. Fuyuki knew well who was behind this sudden success but he wasn’t upset. He sensed that something has changed inside that man; he wanted to redeem himself. Fuyuki didn’t hate him; he was simply unable to hate. He could be hurt, deeply pained, even crushed by the inflicted pain; but he was oblivious to hatred.

That night, watching him laid down like a torn butterfly, still beautiful in his sufferance, the man discovered for the first time his own feelings. He faced regrets, remorse and above all, he realized that in fact, for the first time in his life he fell in love. He’s had a lust for that perfect body but he right now, he was in love with that gentle, fragile, generous soul that gave the magic of that beauty. He knew that there was no chance for them to meet again; he didn’t want to torment Fuyuki.

One of Fuyuki’s works was put on sale at a charity and the man put up the highest bid ever. It was a painting depicting that elusive “Lost Butterfly” that symbolizes  both hope and the inner world of that beautiful artist. The day after the successful auction, Fuyuki showed up at the exhibition hall. He looked slightly changed; he looked a bit matured and his beauty deepened. He has lost some of his innocent touch, but he has gained a certain serenity that just added to his magic. As he stepped out of the car, he turned towards the black car parked on the other side of the street. The man was outside, looking at him. Fuyuki faced him for a moment, then slowly turned and disappeared inside the building.

The man stepped into his car. The painting was packed up and placed beside him on the rear seat. The car slowly departed. The man was never seen in public again. The rumour was that he was ill; but only a very close few knew that he had an unrequited love. From his “high castle”, he kept an eye on Fuyuki but he never approached him anymore. He was happy just to watch from a safe distance the dance of that butterfly in the light.

-Amazing-said one of the creatures of light. I never thought the Child would have such a powerful influence on people.

-He’s not very happy about it. We have to watch him carefully; he might end up in trouble again…-said the other one.

-Luckily, his companion guides him well…

-Yes, but accidents might occur…-said the second creature, concern echoing in his voice. We cannot afford to lose him…

-Don’t get annoyed…I promise I’ll be careful about him. He’s our Child anyway.