My neighbor, The Stapler, is one of my favorite people here in New York.
She’s as unassuming and uncontrived as one can be. Her considerable intelligence is apparent to those who wish to engage in conversation, but it’s not flaunted needlessly. Her compassion is deep, her connection to animals is unfathomable.
I’ve seen her laugh till she cried. She’s had me laughing just as hard. We have given each other the gift of being ourselves, devoid of agenda and politics and motives. We have a way of simply ‘being’ when we happen to be in the same room.
Thanks to her, I had the unique experience of giving homeopathic remedies to a chicken using chopsticks. I held that same chicken while The Stapler fed her with a tube. Not the most pleasant experience for the poor hen, but it kept her alive.
I helped The Stapler bring in a lamb that had been injured, so that it could spend a warm night indoors. The lamb and we shared a salad from my garden, a communion to which I will return over and over again, drawing out its fuller meaning as I am able to comprehend it.
She and I made a trip to Brooklyn this past autumn, and shared the horrific experience known as kapparot, both of us feeling the juggernaut of cultural momentum behind institutionalized abuse and slaughter. It is accurate to say that this experience has enriched my life also, as it has helped me understand the scope of what we are trying to do—and will serve as a reminder to set reasonable expectations for progress.
These and other experiences–from taking in a convalescing doe and her bunnies to trying to save a possum that we had tragically struck in the road—have expanded my life. That Stapler has been integral in each of them.
I came to this sanctuary to peacefully do my work. I was happy to put my energy into something as compassionate as teaching people how to eat without the use of factory-farmed animal products. I knew I would learn a lot of things just by being here, and that has proven to be true.
The things I’ve learned from The Stapler come in such gentle ways. They are subtly offered, innocuously hidden in phone calls: “Hey, Kevin, can you help me take Jimmy to the vet?”
The answer to that was “yes,” as will be my response to all similar questions. When I open myself to the opportunities she presents, I open myself to learning from her depth.