Last night I finished reading “Charlotte’s Web” with our 4 year old. There were times over the past few weeks that I wondered if she was hearing any of the story as she played with the wall, laid her head on my chest, and otherwise entertained herself while we lay in her bed. Yesterday afternoon my partner asked what Wilbur was up to. Our daughter knew exactly what was going on in the story. Kids pick up everything, even when we don’t think they are. Not much is better than reading to your child in the evening. Pure joy.
We could all learn a bit from Wilbur. He’s a wise pig. Read this exchange:
“I’m glad I’m a sedentary spider,” (said Charlotte).
“What does sedentary mean?” asked Wilbur.
“Means I sit still a good part of the time and don’t go wandering all over creation. I know a good thing when I see it, and my web is a good thing. I stay put and wait for what comes. Gives me a chance to think.”
“Well, I’m sort of sedentary myself, I guess,” said the pig. ”I have to hang around here whether I want to or not. you know where I’d really like to be this evening?
“In a forest looking for beechnuts and truffles and delectable roots, pushing leaves aside with my wonderful strong nose, searching and sniffing along the ground, smelling, smelling, smelling…”
If only we all wanted to be where Wilbur wanted to be. Running around a forest searching for delectable roots. Smart pig. Being active, real food eating. One can make a solid argument for the genius of Charlotte, but Wilbur is right there.
And not only Wilbur, the farm was full of wise animals. The sheep was another bright bulb, read as he gives Templeton the rat some unsolicited advice:
The old sheep spoke to him (Templeton) about his size one day. ”You would live longer,” said the old sheep, “if you ate less.”
“Who wants to live forever?” sneered the rat. “I am a naturally heavy eater and I get untold satisfaction from the pleasures of the feast.” He patted his stomach, grinned at the sheep, and crept upstairs to lie down.
Accurate observations by both the sheep and Templeton. The more we eat the heavier we become as your weight is a function of consumption. The heavier you are, the more health related issues you deal with. I too get “untold satisfaction from the pleasures of the feast.” These days that’s my problem, the feast is everywhere. Can you think of one place in modern society where it unacceptable to eat? I’d be hard pressed to. Wise animals lived on Zuckerman’s farm.
Over the last couple of weeks our daughter asked a few times if Wilbur becomes bacon in the end. We were relieved that he did not, and although Charlotte’s passing brought the question, “Is she dead, daddy?” no tears were shed. I thought of Wilbur and his wiseness this morning as I read a new research report that demonstrates if we eat pork protein for breakfast we reduce our feelings of hunger prior to lunch and the more pork protein we eat, the less hungry we get. The reduced feelings of hunger had no impact on how much was consumed at lunch, however.
I’ll stick with reading Wilbur’s tao and not eating him.