Yesterday, for the first time in perhaps a year and a half, I just happened to drive past a dairy farm. I hadn’t intentionally been avoiding dairy farms, though I would be the first to admit that such a place could easily be one of the things in life that might actually be worth avoiding. If you’ve ever been to one, or near one, you know what I mean. And if you haven’t, let me paint you the briefest of pictures.
The first thing you notice, as you approach a dairy farm, is the stench. I don’t want to exaggerate and say the stink travels for miles, but the simple fact is that the stink travels for miles. You smell it long before you see it. It’s an acrid smell, a mixture of ammonia, methane, and shit. When you see it, the visuals match. The farm is all silver metal fences marking out the boundaries of dark brown muck punctuated by feeding and watering troughs. A few scattered poles hold up small sections of roofing as token wards against sun and rain. Then there are the cows, of course, crowded together in the small section of shade near the feed, covered from hoof to mid flank in shit or mud or both.
It looks like one of the most miserable circumstances of a life I can imagine. Certainly the cows wouldn’t choose to be there, if they were given a choice. I was momentarily outraged at the insensitivities of my fellow men, who apparently thought that this kind of treatment of these animals was somehow justified. And then I realized: this is the price of cheese.
I’ve been depressed lately. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but it’s not typical of me to be depressed. I’ve had no energy, and no desire even to get out of bed. It makes sense, given the things that I’ve been going through recently, that I would be depressed, but for some reason up to this point I have only had to deal with a constant sense of sadness and loss. I don’t think I’ve been depressed since the years after my mission.
And I’ve wondered about it. If the depression is from the things that I’ve been going through, well, I’ve been going through them for quite a while now. Why has it taken so long for depression to hit? And if it’s something new, what is it? What new worry is suddenly making my life’s problems seem insurmountable? Read More…