dude! wow man, you guys are really cool!

When the Quasi enters our yard he often greets the chickens, “Hi guys.” Hmmm—what’s off about this phrase?

Give up?

Doh! they’re all females! The Grrrly-Grrrls is their proper group name, if anything. Saying, “Hey girls,” would be way more fitting.

Addressing a mixed gender group by saying, “Hey guys!” is something we’re all so cliché-y familiar with that we don’t even hear it. Let’s turn this around. How about we decide to change-up “Hey Guys” to “Hey Gals” when talking to a combined crowd. Does this sit right with you? Why not?

Because: : : : language matters.

In romance languages, to speak to a blended gender group, the plural becomes male even though nouns have both male and female versions. In English, “mankind” is applied when we mean “human-kind,” “he” and “his” are used if the gender is unknown, and recently people hail both genders by the stupid moniker “dude.” I’m so not a guy or a—yuck—dude.

Placidity is taught. One word at a time. And it begins early. At age 18, I read a suggestion (by a female author!) that when writing children’s books the protagonists should be male because boys don’t relate to *female characters. Really? How is it that girls learned to do so? I’ll tell you. By default–we had to identify with something and there was a dearth of authentic female protagonists. For me: Olive Oyl, Betty & Veronica, Snow White. Sigh.

When my kids were little, I would carefully use pen & ink on the fonts in library picture books changing the genders of pigs, cats, ghosts, whatever—who were all mysteriously males—to females. [Check San Francisco or Denver–guerrilla warfare!] Hello! where did all those boy donkeys, horses or ducks come from anyway? Reverse parthenogenesis?

Later, when I’d read storybooks aloud, I was able to alter the gender without skipping a beat. Once when Dario was about 8, he interrupted me and questioned, “So, is that person really a girl, Mom, or are you changing it?” Drat! Why did I teach him to read?!

So, what can we employ if we don’t want to say “guys” but want to sound casual? Southerner’s use “y’all” or, for real emphasis, “all y’all.” How about, “Hey Gang!” or “Hey everybody.” Fixing “dude?” You’re on your own.

If you think this is too picayune an issue to consider, think again. Sticks & stones don’t break many bones, but words linger in most people’s psyches until…who knows?

And if you believe the matter really is petty, then you’ll understand exactly what I mean if I address men as “gals,” discuss “God-the-Mother,” substitute “women” while discussing humanity. You won’t mind, right? You’ll get used to it. And if you complain, well, then you’re just being “too sensitive.”

*today’s boys appear to identify just fine with Dora and Junie B. Jones.

planet death…and then there are honey bees

Most of us don’t think about the fact that we live on a planet where in order for something to live many things have to die. From viruses to plankton, wood to wheat, from whales to humans someone is the prey and someone is the predator.

There are exceptions: bees make honey but don’t harm blossoms in doing so; ewes, cows, nannies (goats), etc. give milk without bloodshed; fish, chickens, turtles and ducks donate eggs, beautiful ovate/round gifts; a myriad of trees and plants generously award us their edible jewels every season!

One of the tenets of Jainism is that all living beings desire life, not death, and thereby no one has the right to take away that life. Jains feel that all beings “render service” to each other; that’s how they circumvent the act of “killing” plants to eat or accidentally crushing insects while walking.

I’m not a Jain nor a member of any religion though I do hold a pantheistic in view. I’ve been a vegetarian almost all my life and even though I have chickens—my “girly girls”—I rarely eat their eggs. My quasi will, my kids will, my friends will. I still appreciate the girls’ magical benefactions.

So rather than blithely devouring a slab of cow, a curl of pig, or—in my case—grains and veggies, let’s revere all beings’ life forces especially if we’re killing them to nurture us. Them being plants, wood, water but  especially the animals. Let’s honor their offerings of Self for our nourishment and for their earthly service.

Foremost: allow each animal these three H’s: health, haven, and harmony. Empower them to walk this earth living genuine lives before they come to our mouths.

celebrate the grrrls!

As I finished tucking the seedlings into the garden, I observed the members of the feral honey bee hive that live in my back chimney circle around me to drink out of the bird bee bath that stands in the garden. I usually greet those lovely wingeds as “my girls.”

But now I have five young hens who I call my “girly, girls.”

And I often dub my teenaged-to-women friends, Grrrls.

What’s with all the girls?

  • Honey bees are the only insect in the world that make honey. That’s astonishing! And only ‘girls’ do it.
  • And all the remarkable cheddar, chevre, parmigiano, gouda, bufala, yogurt, quark…all made by cows, nannys, ewes, water buffaloes = females.
  • Chickens, ducks, turtles, fish: each laying eggs humans can use and enjoy from omelets to soup to sushi. All given to us by the girls.

Creating life is something we ascribe to “god,” and in the christian-judeo tradition, that god is—IMHO—erroneously male. Sorry, but that plainly goes against the laws of the universe, or at least the environmental laws of this planet. Most natural food gifts from animals that don’t involve slaughter are ultimately given to us by ‘the girls.’

I’m not saying that the males have nothing to do with any aspect of creation or are even enjoyable (when neutered) [insert smile here] but ultimately and ironically they have been made somewhat scientifically obsolete—in an intrinsic sense—by a mostly male-driven and researched science when they created sperm banks.

Maybe those researchers might turn their talents toward ‘spinning straw into gold’ which is how I view what these ‘girls’ magically do, and that I never cease to marvel that women can actually create new life. Having participated in this process twice and then watched my body produce the needed nourishment for those newly entered beings, well, the awe is still present all these years later.

Celebrate life!