Photo of the Week presents      

Photo of the Week 212


photo of this weeks photo of the week
Photo: Maarten Zeehandelaar

An enormous sow was lying sideways on a wooden table in the shadow of some palm trees. Beneath her head stood a bucket, catching the blood that first gushed then flowed and now trickled from the gash in her throat. An old man leaned against one of the poles for the clotheslines. He intently watched a young man with a small but seemingly razor-sharp knife making the appropriate incisions. The belly of the sow opened up like a panel of sliding doors – nothing inside had been damaged or even touched by the young man’s knife. This was, as the old man explained, what it was all about. One inexact cut could spoil almost the entire sow, all good cuts served many for some time. From ears to tail, everything would be used (indeed that night we had some pigskin crisps with the afternoon beers and ate some incredibly excellent barbecued pork loin later on) if the slaughtering was done correctly. But the young man was not out of the woods yet. Cutting loose and removing the intestines was an even more fragile task then opening the belly.

Thus we saw the master butcher giving instructions and then calmly stepping back, allowing the young apprentice all space necessary to focus and concentrate.

Now, you must understand that I am not a man of God, but what I saw here brought me close to heaven nonetheless. The inside of the sow – never had I been so close to the marvel of creation, the seamless positioning of all that had been necessary to keep this sow alive was something so beautiful it lifted my spirit in and of itself. And then the craftsmanship of the apprentice – his steady hand wielding the cutthroat knife, just as seamlessly slicing out those intestines; what could be used sliding into one bucket, what couldn't be used in another, as if there was a train-track to either.

I stood there watching, mesmerized. And at some point I heard, or I could swear that I heard, one of those heavenly organ compositions by J.S. Bach, faintly flowing towards us over the sounds that came from the surrounding jungle, seemingly out of nowhere.

Text by: Peter-Jan Vermeij

Until the next Photo of the Week!

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