Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Lesson...I Think

I killed two birds yesterday. Not one, but two.

Of course, it was an accident. I didn’t intend to render my feathered friends lifeless in one split second, but it happened.

I was driving along a side street with four of my individuals. I was in my company van, which is actually a 2008 Honda Odyssey, and not an immense 15-seater which one would usually expect me to be driving, considering the company I work for. We had just finished shopping for an elderly man, who is housebound, and were on our way to drop his groceries off to him.

As I coasted slowly down a side street, I noticed two birds entwined in what I assumed was a mating dance of some sort: flittering up and down, twirling around, and generally lacking any concern for the rest of the goings-on in the world, namely a van driving down the street.

And then it happened.

As I opened my mouth and spoke “Look at those silly birds!” they careened uncaringly down towards my wheel well. I heard a slight thump, and then took a large gasp of air.

“Oh no, I think I hit the birds!” I cried. As I peered through the rear view mirror, I saw it: a small wing sticking up from a brown lump in the middle of the street, almost as if it was waving “bye-bye.” My individuals were partially worried, but willing to keep on driving. I, however, had to turn the van around to view the horror of what I had done.

As I pulled up, I did not see two bodies, but one conglomeration of feathers and guts. Relieved that one bird possibly escaped this torturous demise, I rolled down my window to grieve over the one with less luck.

And then I saw them…legs. Not two, but four. I had killed these birds so heinously that their little bodies actually blended together as if they were one. Which quite possibly was their original intent, but I assume in a much more rewarding and satisfying way.

I’m still trying to figure out the lesson here, or the irony. I’m not having much luck, though.

Sort of like the time I decapitated a squirrel on Halloween, just as little ghouls, goblins and princesses were starting to appear in the streets in their quest for treats. I ran it over after it played “red light, green light”, going back and forth in the street, when it finally ignored the command of “red light” and decided to keep on going anyway, heading for my car on the driver’s side. I slammed on my brakes and noticed that it didn’t come out on the passenger side as I had hoped. I turned to look out my window, wondering if anyone had actually witnessed this murder firsthand. I saw two little old ladies in their lawn chairs at the house next to me, their mouths hanging open with painful looks on their faces.

“…He didn’t make it, did he?” I asked them.

They shook their heads “no.”

“…I ran him over, didn’t I?”

They nodded their heads “yes.”

I got out of my car and nearly passed out from the carnage. I’m not even sure what happened to the top of his head…all that was left was his bottom jaw and the rest of his body.

The ladies kindly gave me a garbage bag and a roll of paper towels. I picked up the poor little varmint and put him in the bag (and he was a hefty little critter, too…I’m betting he weighed at least five pounds). I know I could have left him there, but I figured it would be a really bad “trick” for the kids to see as they crossed the street from one house to the next. I cried as I threw him out in my garbage pail on the side of my house, and whispered a small “I’m sorry” to the universe.

Again…what was the lesson here?

I know they were only animals, but to take a life is ghastly even so. Yes, I am the person who will try to scoot the bee out of the house before I spray it with hair spray (hey, it works, and it’s not as poisonous as Raid). I am the person who cried uncontrollably when I saw the rat dying from the food he ate in the trap the county had placed in my yard. I have a definite fondness for all of God’s creatures, sometimes to a fault.

Perhaps these things happen to remind us of how precious life is, and how quickly it can be over. Maybe God allows his lesser creatures to be sacrificed so that we can be awakened to the relationships that are dying around us, the relationships that could end in a split second and won’t ever be healed because of our pride, our stubbornness.

I know I have a few of those relationships in my life. I’m sure we all do. I’ve been reflecting on how to mend them, how to restore them to their original beauty. But just as the critters made bad choices that hurt them, this is how it is in life as well. The birds’ lifeless little bodies will never be separated and the squirrel will never get his head back. So we have to accept it, mourn it, and bury it (…or at least throw it in the garbage). And then we move on.


Shoshana said...

Oh no...but it happens. A few days ago, we saw two birds ejected out of their nest. I think they're broken and quite possibly dead but they were still blinking when we got to them.

Summer said...

accidents happen! not your fault, it was bound to happy, i mean those creatures were facing their destiny when you hit was time for them to go! i once hit a bird and killed while driving and i bothered me all afternoon!! couple of months ago i hit a stupid stupid raccoon, crossing the interstate and i was going at 75 mph...i tried to avoid it but it was too stupid to move out of my way and i had to hit it....i had not choice otherwise i would have a bigger accident! things happen and all we can do is ask for mercy on those little animal's souls! cheer are blogging again...great to read you!

A Who said...

I would have felt the same about those birds and squirrels -- I am grateful for people like you.

Did I ever tell you about the time I accidentally hit a homeless man as he was crossing the street? OhMYGawd -- that was horrible! (He didn't die. He wasn't injured. It was raining and I threw on my brakes but my car slid into him 'cause of the rain, but anyway...crazy stuff.)

Point: HOW do people mow animals or people down as recently happened in Connecticut (or somewhere in your neck of the woods), and then Keep GOING? How could someone be so cold, so evil, so uncaring?

Again, people like you give me hope, and btw, I am really glad you're back.

Carine said...

I'm sorry Lisa, but things like this unfortunately do happen. I seem to remember a young man who had a run in w/ a suicidal deer a few months back!
deep breath and welcome back

Big Dave T said...

Very nice. Some people forget that animals have feelings too. And we've probably all hit and killed our share.

I was driving home on the interstate when I saw a dead goose just off to the left on the median. On the other side of the highway, barely out of traffic, stood its mate apparently. He turned this way, that way, just standing around as if trying to decide what to do. It was sad.

There's plenty of sadness to go around, in the human as well as in the animal world. We just can't let it get to us too much.

Kacey said...

I see your bird incident from a completely different perspective. Namely, sex can be detrimental to your health. It does seem that creatures engaged in this activity lose track of the world around them, even unto the point of death. I'm afraid "my honey" would think this is a terrific way to go, but I'm not about to play naked in the street.
It's so good to see you back on the "blogosphere"....I have to go put you back on my blogroll. Hugs to you!

LZ Blogger said...

There's a lesson somewhere here... but by the time I ponder it... WE MAY get hit by a 15 seat van. At least they went out together... and in style. They really did mate for LIFE (albeit a short one)! ~ jb///

Betty said...

OK, this is whirlingbetty talking and you might have an idea of what I'm going to say- here's the lesson: don't drive!!!!!!

And with gas prices what they are, many of us would probably love to find a way to not drive! But alas, we live in a driving society.

Along with lots of other people, I'm very glad that you're back!!!!


Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shoshana,

We also had a "nest" incident this week in our yard. A robin kicked the mockingbirds out of their nest, ate their eggs, and knocked the nest out of the branch! I didn't know they could do things like that...they look like such nice birds!

Thanks for stopping by!

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Summer,

Wow, your car must have been a mess!! I'd be crying for three days if that happened, especially if I had to clean it off my car!

Great to see you, too...I'm moving at a slower pace now as far as blogging goes, but it feels good to be back.

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Who,

I can not believe I've never heard that story! You must have been mortified! Thank God he wasn't hurt, because I'm sure you can now laugh about it (even a little)!

I'm glad to see YOU back, as well! I'm hoping to get my blog up and running again on a regular basis, time will tell. But I'm so glad I can stop by and read what's new in your life, and I hope it all goes well.


Dust-bunny said...

Dear Carine,

My friend hit a deer years ago, which is pretty much a common occurance (..."Blogger" is telling me that's not a word?) on the east end over here. Her car had hundreds of dollars worth of damage...they are more massive than one would expect!

I've mourned and moved's good to be back, even if it's a slow start!

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Big Dave,

The scenario you presented would make me more upset than what I went through! I could almost cry, and it's only a goose...the poor, confused thing! How sad.

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Kacey,

Hugs to you, too! Yes, sometimes sex can be harmful to your health, even in the animal kingdom!

How nice that your hubby still wants to get naked with you in the street!! Haha...we should all have a relationship like that!

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Jerry,

Hahaha...yes, they certainly did mate for life...or death? Maybe the lesson is to just keep my eyes on the road and stop looking at the scenery! Good to see you!

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Betty,

I did walk to work one day last week, but then I was assigned to a job where I had to walk for three straight hours. By the time I walked home in the afternoon, I was useless for the rest of the day!

Thank you, and I'm glad to see you, too! As I mentioned, I'm making a slow start, but it's good to be back! Hope all is well with you.

Take good care,

simply me said...

Sometimes, there are just no lessons - just plain old crap happens.

Mark said...

There are probably many lessons here. One that jumps out at me is that life as we know it is temporary.

Anonymous said...
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Paul said...

As soon as I started to read I vividly remembered something similar - I know how you feel.

I'd driven to a convenience store early in the evening. I saw movement on the centerline of the busy roadway - then "saw" what it was in the cross-illumination of headlight glare: a newspaper rolling toward me in the wind.

Just as it got directly in front of my car, it suddenly morphed into one kitten chasing another and immediately a BUMP against my tire. In this case, one did get away but it took the other about half an hour to die. It was horrible. Basically, by the time I got it first to a nearby veteranian's that was closed and then to the local police station hoping they could put it down, it had died.

With your birds and with my kittens, part of what makes it feel so wrong is the innocence and joy that you suddenly and unwillingly turn to agony.

I don't know if there really are any good explanations in terms of God's plan. To me, it honestly looks more like God's creation than plan - and creativity seems to be less neat and tidy than planning.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Paul,

That story is so sad! I would have been heartbroken, along with guilt-ridden.

I don't understand why things happen the way that they do, but your explanation of why it feels wrong and your ideas on creativity make sense to me!

Take good care,

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Mark and Simply Me,

I thought it was funny the way that both of your comments, one right above the other, were so contradictory!

SM, you are always right in my eyes, you know that! I guess I just look for an explanation when I'm faced with overwhelming emotions. If I were someone else, I may not have even thought twice about running over the birds...I might not have even noticed it happened at all!

Mark, I do agree that sometimes we need a wakeup call that life is, indeed, temporary (I will probably be posting something relevant to this next week). I hope I don't meet as horrible a demise as my bird friends, but they probably died happy!

Take good care,

Shimmerrings said...

I remember, one summer, when I hit two cats, nearly hit a rabbit, almost hit a raccoon, and nearly hit a couple of deer who dived in front of my car, crossing to the other side... for me, it was about slowing down, taking a deep breath, taking some time to smell the roses... and exhibiting a greater respect and reverence for all of Creation.

Good to see you up and running, again :)

Andrew said...

You are truly a caring person, but those accidents were not your fault.

Thought you might like to know that I have started posting Dismaying Stories again. Drop by if you get a chance.

Loving Annie said...

Very true, and sad too, but you are right...

I hit a mourning dove once - never forgot it. Felt so badly, and yet there was no way to have avoided it.

Your last 2 paragraphs were very wise.

I'm glad you are back to blogging ((hugs))

Hope your 4th of July holiday weekend was a good one !

How are things with the family and your kids ?

Dust-bunny said...

Hello, my dear blogging buddies...sorry for the "group" reply, but I am pressed for time lately. I hope you are all doing well!

Shimmerings...I plan to be up and running in a more "normal" fashion within the next few weeks! It's good to be back, and visit with friends like you. :)

Andrew...We all come back, don't we? How nice to see that you're back to your advice blog again...I'm looking forward to visiting, and I'll place you back on my blog roll!

Loving Annie...Hugs to you, too! I miss being in the swing of things, but I hope to get my head together shortly and be back to blogging on a more regular basis. Lots of changes going on in my life...I'm feeling hopeful!

Take good care,

Down Comforter said...

its a mess

Chicago Carpet Cleaning said...

everything so confusing

mineralissima said...

Is cooperative and happy
Volunteers often
Is willing to take part in all classroom activities

Free Cycling Website said...

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