Around the Traps: Listening To The Animals

Reprinted from The Common Good, no. 28, Advent 2003

Having next door neighbours that live in a sustainable nonviolent way is strengthening my resolve to follow their path. We’re not talking to each other yet, but the chickens and goats are managing to teach me a lot by example. Animals are nonpolluting, and when any two fight nobody else joins in, so usually there’s no death. they’re not educated or intelligent, but animals are motivated and they’ve got what it takes to co-exist peacefully. Living in the country surrounded by the witness of the natural world, peace seems possible and natural. I’m trying to pull back from supporting the unnatural mass violence of war and abortion by not using money. With chickens, a milking goat and a shovel, getting enough food is quite easy, even for a vegetarian. Getting fuel, electricity and clothing without money could happen in time. Socially however, living a different lifestyle to the norm is a lonely business that gets more lonely with age, as the lifestyle gap between you and your peers widens. Sometimes I feel on top of it and sometimes I panic. Most of the time I struggle on remembering Christ’s words ‘be not afraid’. Through letting go, I’ve learned to meditate on God’s presence with me which is very healing and sustains me even when Lynette and I are at odds.

Working for money has killed a lot of my time in the past. Now with subsistence efficiency I’ve got one day a week freed up for various forms of outreach. Several weeks ago, a High Court appeal against one of my bail conditions was dismissed. The hearing had gone really well so I was disappointed. With no victim and the word of only a security guard, the police have managed to silence me for six months on a disorderly behaviour charge; but only outside the abortion clinic. I try and let these experiences strengthen my drive for subsistence living, rather than building resentment for the system and its soldiers.

—Graeme White , Promised Land Catholic Worker Farm

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