On my rural runs on the roads outside our village I pass a lot of cows and horses, grazing in fields. Ireland has an abundance of grass. We are on nodding terms and I like to think they look forward to seeing the funny looking man in brightly coloured running attire as much as I enjoy seeing them. Rebecca sometimes joins me on her bike and stops to talk to her farmyard friends. Charlie is less impressed when he joins us although the cows are fascinated by him.
Last week I became aware of a sign on one of the fences, asking people to refrain from dumping rubbish, or ‘fly tipping’, in a field. This was a problem for some time when the local recycling centres were closed due to the coronavirus. It’s a selfish and nasty act, polluting the countryside with household waste. What I didn’t realise though is that depositing fresh cut grass in fields was a hazard to the animals; poisonous, no less.
I googled this and discovered that fresh cut grass can lead to colic and stomach ruptures when eaten by animals. As the grass has already been mown the animal does not chew it and tends to gorge, meaning they consume large amounts which are already fermenting when they hit their stomachs. As they have not chewed the grass properly they have not produced sufficient saliva to dilute the fermentation process. This can prove fatal in some cases.
Horses and cows love grass, it is their primary food. Yet it can kill them. That got me thinking, I tend to think a lot when I’m out pounding the streets. We can have too much of a good thing and be seriously damaged by those activities and pastimes we initially enjoy. It can be alcohol, food, relationships, anything really. I know this first hand given my addictive, compulsive nature. It’s so easy to slide from moderation into excess. So very easy.
The modern word ‘gorge’ originates from the Latin ‘gurges’ meaning ‘whirlpool.’ Imagine the toxic sights, sounds, tastes and smells we consume when we are in the process of gorging. They create a maelstrom within us, an invisible storm which wreaks havoc with our minds and bodies. Our physical and mental well being can be irrevocably affected. We will the whirlpool to abate but sometimes it is too late. It is out of control.
We need to be wary and take steps to ensure we do not succumb to the temptation of gorging on the poisons of life. This may involve erecting warning signs and building higher walls and fences to deter the fly tippers we encounter throughout this journey we call life. In these unprecedented times it is so easy to lean on corrupt crutches when our natural checks and balances have been thrown so off kilter.
Such preventative measures can take many forms. It can be talking to loved ones or seeking professional help. It can be self education and learning what your limits are. You may need to cut down on, or stop, certain activities and cut off ties with individuals who are impacting detrimentally on your quality of life. It’s learning to say ‘no’, a word I know I have struggled with in the past. A small, yet monumental, step.
The more you say ‘no’, the easier it will be next time. Choking bonds are loosened and you will be more able to fill your lungs with clean air and expel the poison within. All that glitters is not gold. Beauty conceals the rot within. Don’t succumb to gorging. Be strong and believe in your ability to walk away from the edge of the abyss. I’m thankful today for my farmyard friends reinforcing this important message to me.