This year, like every year, my extended family gathered at our parents’ farm on a cold November morning to “process” turkeys. Yes, this means what you think it means. We slaughter them, clean them, and prepare them for people for their Thanksgiving dinners.
I come from a long line of farmers, and love being a part of farm work. From doing hay to freezing sweet corn, my heart sings when I’m part of a working team. The past few years I’ve brought my Life-Cycle Celebrant self to turkey processing day.
Taking a living being’s life is no small act, and it’s important that we do it with respect and with presence. With that in mind, I’ve been writing a blessing each year to share in the cold morning before we start the work.
We huddle around the steaming pot of boiling water and pause.
These are the words I shared this year:
Blessed is this morning, fresh and crisp, a gift of a new day.
Blessed is this land, on unceded territory of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’, where we live humbly as settlers.
Blessed is this farm, an abundant living system providing for generations including ours.
Blessed are the turkeys who roosted, strutted and gobbled through their days, providing companionship to each other and fertility to our fields. May they be at peace.
And blessed are we, working shoulder to shoulder in work that calls us to remember our place in the wheel of life, that we must take life to have our own, and that one day we too will return to the soil from which we live.
May we too be at peace, may we enjoy our work this morning, approaching it with humility, reverence and gratitude.