I was born a vegetarian. But sometimes I wonder, “Why do I stay a vegetarian?” I see cookbooks, chicken looks good. I hear my friends saying, “Bacon is so delicious.” But why do I stay a vegetarian? Well, I think for me, it has something to do with the Circle of Life. Because humans, sometimes we get a little too big for our britches and we think we’re smarter than everything else and we overbreed animals we kill for food and we poach the animals that usually would be predators so that the Circle of Life is chopped up and uneven.
I feel like being a vegetarian helps because I am not really part of making the Circle of Life uneven. But just because I don’t eat meat, it doesn’t make me automatically not part of making the Circle of Life uneven. But I do believe it also has something to do with the way I live. My moms buy cage-free eggs and we try to grow our own organic food so we help reduce all the shipping fumes and stuff.
And I found a story that goes with the theme of the Circle of Life because it tells about how long, long ago, all animals could walk around and talk like humans. I think this story has to do with how God created us all connected to each other in a Circle that never ends.
I want to share the story with you now:
Long, long ago, the animals and trees could walk around and talk to each other just like we can… Now, gray squirrel was very ungainly and not the sharpest knife in the drawer. One day, she came to be sad about this. She came to sit down undernearth the Cedar Tree. She sighed and said to herself, “I am not good at anything.” The Cedar Tree said, “Why don’t you try to make a basket? Go fetch bear grass and bark and some of my roots.” Gray squirrel went and fetched these things. “Now weave these things together and make a basket,” said Cedar Tree and gray squirrel did it.
“Now, go the river and dip the basket into the water. If it holds the water, you’ve made a fine basket.” Gray Squirrel did this but the water rushed through the basket and she started crying.
Cedar Tree said, “Go out and ask the animals for ideas, for designs, for materials.” And so Gray Squirrel went out into the world as Cedar Tree had said.
Rattle snake gave her the pattern off his back. Peacock gave her the pattern of his tail. Stream gave her the pattern of her waves. Quail gave her the pattern of her footprints. Soon Squirrel had made a basket of all these different designs. It was a beautiful basket and when she tested it, it held all the water.
She went to Cedar Tree and said, “I made a basket out of what you told me. And it worked.” Cedar Tree said, “Now, you must give it back to the earth.”
So, Gray Squirrel made four baskets for the animals whose patterns she had used. Then Gray Squirrel went into the forest and put the basket on the forest floor.
Then, Coyote came and said, “Humans are coming very quickly.” Cedar Tree said, “We must give these humans a gift. We will give the women weaving skills like Gray Squirrel has.”
For me, this story shows how even though we think we might be very different, we are linked to Gray Squirrel and all the animals in this way.
Thank you all for your time.