Last week, powered by a generator up at the Homestead’s Judgement-Free Kitchen after the storms took down trees and power lines, I taught “Vegan 101,” an introductory class to help familiarize people with the wide variety of foods available in vegan cooking. After the first few minutes of facilitating the acquaintance of strangers in a new environment, it became apparent that it’s not just food we hunger for, it’s connectedness. By the end of the night, this seemingly disparate group of veg-curious folks was sitting around the farm table in the dining room, enjoying the meal we had just prepared and laughing with the ease of old friends. They came for cooking lessons and left with new friends.
Reflecting on the class and the incredibly interesting people who found their way to our Compassionate Cuisine program, it occurred to me that people are drawn to places like Catskill Animal Sanctuary for reasons that are sometimes a little more than just the obvious desire to take a cooking class, pet a pig, or have an overnight stay. Whether they know it or not, they want to nourish their souls and connect.
On this planet, where we can be living on top of each other but still be miles away, there are certain environments where the distance diminishes between us and we glow a little brighter. Catskill Animal Sanctuary is one of those environments. Here, the energy crackles with opportunities for connectedness, whether it’s sitting around a cutting board, feeding a carrot to a cow or walking peacefully amidst the Catskill Mountain’s lush green landscape – spirits flourish here. Yes, animals heal here, thank goodness, but I think people do, too. I truly believe that in order to live with some of the atrocities being perpetrated today on animals, Mother Nature and each other, we have to detach and numb ourselves a little more every day. Catskill Animal Sanctuary seems to gently melt away that icy numbness and reignite the embers of compassion by connecting us with the critters, each other and our environment.
What are you hungry for? Whatever it is, I bet you’ll find it here.
p.s. We are starting to post recipes from our classes in our new recipes section. Check it out!And just a gentle nudge to let you know that this season’s classes are filling up, so if one of the things you’re hungry for is culinary knowledge, view the current calendar and enroll in a class today!