Bambi was one of the first films I saw as a child and I have always had a fascination for deer. One of the highlights of the summer was spotting a deer at Rame Head in Cornwall – we hadn’t seen any there for a long while. On Saturday we got to see feeding time at Attingham Park. Listening to the ranger talk about their eating habits made me think I had hears some of it before but reflecting since then it is a lesson for me at the moment.
This is a more sophisticated version of what he said…
Deer have a four-chambered stomach. The first chamber, called the rumen,
is for storage. The rumen allows for the deer to gather a lot of food at once
and then digest it later. The deer bring the food back up into their mouth and
chew it again. This process is called chewing their cud. It is also called
ruminating, named after the rumen. Animals that can do this are called
I realized anew the benefits of chewing the cud or ruminating – it is something I tend to do when I am preaching – looking up the passages and seeing what emerges as I digest them over time. But I would also benefit from doing it a little more with some of the books and articles I read. It can be very easy to move on to the next one without fully digesting the previous one and certainly chewing it over several times. I often print out journal articles which interest me as I enjoy being able to highlight and scribble on them and I have a couple from today that I want to more purposefully ruminate on as they both feed into things I am thinking about – a spirituality of caring drawing on Nouwen’s wounded healer motif and shame and honour in parables…
I also spent large parts of the night listening to the radio with increasing sadness and I do need to ruminate too on what is happening in the world…
Time to ruminate like the deer!