Here’s How Fucked Up My Heart Is

If you’ve never heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), it’s when community members purchase a “share” at local farms in which they pay upfront and receive farm goods periodically over the growing season. It’s a wonderful concept that takes some financial burden off of smaller farmers, while providing fresh produce and other surprises for the community.

This is the second year that we’ve participated in a CSA because we were absolutely thrilled last year. Every week brings something different, it forces you to get creative, and it’s amazing to try new things you’ve never had that were plucked from the ground just minutes ago. It really gets the culinary juices flowing, and it’s very rewarding to give back to our underappreciated local farmers.


Monday is our CSA pickup day, and we actually look forward to hopping in the Mustang and taking a drive to the farm. You simply bring back last week’s reusable, cloth bag, they give you a full one as they explain the week’s features, and you’re on your way. We stopped buying grocery store eggs a couple of years ago as well, so we always stock up at the farm when we need more.

Two days ago after being handed our CSA bag from one of the farmers, my husband asked her if they have any eggs left for the day. Already appearing a bit frazzled, the woman threw her hands up in the air and said, “Nope, no eggs at all today.” Looking as though she’d like to vent, we listened to her further.

She told us that no one has been able to go into the barn today.

After cocking our heads in interest, she went on to tell us that in the barn they have about 120 baby turkeys along with all of their chickens. Every night someone turns on their water spigot for them to drink overnight. Except the previous night someone forgot to turn their water on. And 45 baby turkeys were killed from dehydration.

Most of you probably just went “AWWWWWWWW,” possibly pouted, then continued reading. But me? Immediately my eyes welled up, my heart felt crushed, and I literally began mourning the deaths of the baby turkeys. Thank goodness I was wearing sunglasses, because as she continued giving details of how many they lost, how horrifying the barn is, and how distraught the farmer’s wife is, I began to cry and was overwhelmed by sadness. I didn’t speak on the ride home as tears quietly streamed down my face, and my husband held my hand in silence gently assuring me that everything will be OK.

I can’t explain why I was so affected, but it’s a perfect example of the person I am. I’d never even met the turkeys, but the sheer sadness of the situation engulfed me. I thought of the poor chap who forgot to turn the water on who is forever responsible for 45 deaths, I pictured the poor farmer’s wife who happily checked in on them everyday just beside herself with sadness and anger, and I imagined the baby turkeys each gasping for their final breath as death senselessly took them.

I don’t know why I think these things, but I do.

That’s just the heart that I have. I used to ask my parents if I could sit with old men eating alone at restaurants to keep them company when I was a kid; and I remember them telling me, only to make me feel better, that he’s probably just trying to get away from his wife for an hour and not to be sad. Not a single holiday party went by in school where I didn’t bring back some of the food home for my parents and sister. Even if I was given one cookie, I would literally bring back crumbs to share with my family. I truly don’t know why, but that’s who I am.

Now that I’m older and am more in touch with who I am, I attribute these things to being an empath. I think of everyone around me, I put others before myself, and I feel everything that happens to and around me.

It really is a curse sometimes.

10 thoughts on “Here’s How Fucked Up My Heart Is

  1. When I was about 10 years old, my parents took us to Mexico for vacation. While we were in Monterrey, we were in one of the plazas, enjoying the vibe when a ban walked by carrying a baby goat on his back. The goat was crying and bleating. I asked my parents where the man was going with the goat an of course, they told me it was probably on its way to the slaughterhouse. I sobbed like a baby for the next hour. I just could not stop crying. I’m quite sure my parents had wished they had given me a different answer.


  2. I work in rural areas, driving between inspection sites. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped to pick turtles out of the road and slowed down for vultures to get their big butts in the air from whatever they were eating (never good to get a close look). In the back of my head, I’m kind of weighing that against the meat I eat, the occasional suicide squirrel or crazed robin that I can’t swerve fast enough to avoid.

    Then last week, I was filling up at the gas station when an Amish wagon came in, loaded with cages of rabbits. The two kids went into the gas station for whatever and I found myself looking at the rabbits, who were looking back at me. That started a whole cascade of thoughts, wondering if they knew where they were going, what their fate would be, if they were wondering why I wasn’t setting them free, on and on. I seriously considered trying to buy all of them from the kids but I had no idea what I’d do with them. Put them in the back of my pickup? In the cab with me? I’m staying in a hotel, I’m sure they wouldn’t be amused, on and on it goes. Finally, I finished and got out of there, carefully not looking at the wagon again but the thought of those eyes looking at me has haunted me for the last couple of days.

    I eat meat, I like the stuff and I know where it comes from. I buy a cow once a year from a farmer and make it a point to go meet the calf and check in once more before it’s slaughtered. I know it’s had a pretty awesome life and I know that Cliff is really good at what he does and when the end comes, it doesn’t suffer. Maybe it was the cages, maybe it was the kids laughing going into the store or what.

    I DO know that part of it comes from seeing the world in a different way. The thought of anything dying of dehydration would haunt me as well, probably for days. But as much heartache as it causes, I wouldn’t want to change the way I see the world. I think our curse, and the curse of the human condition, is not being able to control the armor around our hearts.


  3. I ran over a frog while mowing yesterday. I am still traumatized by the experience. I turned it into something ‘cute’ for FB, adding a quote by Lady MacBeth, but it hurts. It is OK to hurt for others living creatures. Man or beast.


  4. I’m one too. And yes, it can be a curse sometimes, to feel, even for people and/or animals we don’t even know. But, would you rather be ambivalent, or worse? To me, not giving a shit is a much more severe curse to be saddled with. 😊

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