Beautiful Meat

Nestled between snow-capped Alps and the Venetian lagoon, are the plains of Friuli. The cultivated fields color the land like Impressionist paintings and in all the wild places unruly beauty grows.  In May the poppies carpet the landscape. And as the animal world bears its young all of nature resonates with Saint Francis “Glory to God for the creatures, and especially for my Brother Sun.” Some new babes come unnoticed, quietly into life. But it wasn’t so with Pierre Luisa. She was born last June at the stable where I board my horse. I remember how unsteady she looked on her spindly legs, until I saw her gallop. Then she was everywhere: running loose in the yard, knocking over buckets, frightening our horses as we tried to mount. And we all loved her.

Being a foreigner, I don’t understand everything I experience. But I am told that Pierre Luisa was bred as part of the horse-meat market.

In Italy, horse meat is often on the menu. I’ve seen it served in delicate sliced of carpaccio, savory-smelling stews, or grilled topped with arugula and aged cheese. High in iron, and low in fat; it is a healthy alternative to beef. When my emotions get in the way of someone’s dinner I wonder, “Why am I such a hypocrite?” Just because meat originates from a beautiful creature shouldn’t change the reality of an omnivorous life.

It doesn’t matter, I won’t eat it. I won’t stand in someone’s way or judge them for their tastes. But Pierre Luisa has become more than meat to me. She probably won’t go to slaughter anytime soon. She’ll have more babies like her, and her “butcher-daddy” really loves her. In fact, today he offered to give her to me as a gift. To bad I am moving back to  America in 4 months.

Leonardo Di Vinci said “beauty and utility cannot co-exist.” I imagine a place where Pierre Luisa has a different kind of life. She would be lovely pulling a wagon in parades, or a sleigh ride for holiday revelers. Pierre Luisa will live that way in my mind, as an invitation to another world where beauty and usefulness aren’t at odds.

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