Home > cattle industry, Confusion, Just a Thought > Flight of the Orange Juice Perspective

Flight of the Orange Juice Perspective

The past few months have been intellectually decadent, to say the least. I spent a lot of time “working” according to my time sheets. In that time I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with a lot of different people, from many different areas of life. Some were students I was mentoring, others were scientists, ranchers, performing artists, hunters, educators and, well, the list is just too dang exhaustive to type.

In the spring I was on a short flight heading back home from a meeting, I honestly can’t remember if it was early morning or late late evening. Either way I was tired. And then the stewardess delivered a much appreciated cup of orange juice. Who doesn’t love a cup o’ juice when tired & travelling, slagging away at work stuff whenever you get a spare moment?

As I sat there working away with the OJ on the tray beside me, a thought developed. The curious cup of OJ At a glance towards my liquid delight, my first thought within seconds was: we’re rolling slightly and vibrating at a set frequency. No duh. It’s a plane. This was promptly followed by: why the deuce did I think that? Post hoc explanation within the next minute was that I watched how the juice oscillated and moved around, thinking of how it was transmitting the movement of the plane and that not only was there vibration at a certain frequency causing a repeatable pattern of rings moving in the horizontal plane, but we were also likely tipping side to side a bit based on the shifting of the surface of the juice relative levels of juice at each side of the cup. Both of which were discernible to me because of the reflection of the light on the surface of the juice changing with motion of the juice relative to the incidence of the light.

Yup. Nerded that up.

I debated sharing the deconstruction of that thought process, largely because when I did most people just laughed and said it was because I was working too hard or just a big geek. Neither remark really bothered me, but I just felt that a bigger concept was at play. Perspective.

Although the discussions these past months have been over a wide variety of topics, I couldn’t help but circle back to my flying OJ experience when the topic arose of conflict. Especially when discussing the progression of “ag-vocacy” and inevitably with the arrival of the fall hunting season. Conflict is present in many things, but agriculture and hunting are two that I’m currently exposed to a lot. I recently went hiking with a hunter, encountered a “small” bear while I was on my own. Personally, the bear seemed damn huge at 10 ft away, but of all things what struck me was the curiosity in the face and gestures. Thankfully the encounter wasn’t detrimental for either the bear or I. After the hike, the hunter (a former guide from the north) gave me a book I just finished, Grizzly Heart. The book is about using a difference perspective for sharing the world with “dangerous” animals.

In the book Charlie Russel and Maureen Enns (an Alberta rancher and an artist) use a different perspective on bears, one that encompasses actually trying to understand the bears’ perspective on space, resources etc., to make sharing space with them possible not only for them in their remote cabin, but also for villages in the surrounding area. The book reminded me of my view of the flying OJ, and how it is just a different perspective on something. People’s responses just didn’t encompass that perspective.

I keep taking the OJ and the grizzlies back to ag-vocacy and the brewing discomfort that I have been developing with it. Sometimes it seems like a large amount of support for agriculture and attempts to “educate” about agriculture don’t encompass that other perspectives are seeing things in a whole different way. A lot of people may recognize that there are other perspectives on agricultural production. But I often am left wondering if people take the time to really try and see the world through the other eyes, how those eyes see the conflict and what we, as humans, might have to re-learn if we are going to peacefully share the world.

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