Yesterday, I was riding home from work on my bicycle. The sun was shining off and on through some light and feathery clouds. There was a bit of wind, but it was fairly gentle for the most part. I had just passed through a stop light and gotten onto a large wide bike trail.
As I passed under some trees, I noticed a bird flutter to the ground a just a few feet in front of me. It looked like I startled it and it started flying away. However, even though it looked like it was flying away, it turned wing and flew right into the spokes of my front wheel. Horrified, I watched as it got stuck in my tire’s rotation and shot out the same side that it had flown in on. It landed on the road in a crumpled mess of feathers.
I screeched to a halt and turned my bike around. I dropped my bike and went to where the poor thing lay. Its right wing was bent over itself and it was on its back. I gently picked it up to move it off the road. It struggled very little, so I knew there wasn’t much I could do. I set it under the shade of a tree and watched it die.
I felt really sad about the whole thing. I know that there is nothing I could have done in that moment, but it still hurts to be the direct cause of ending of a life. It makes me think about what other harm I might unintentionally cause in this world. I believe that I try to do good and not hurt others, but the truth is that I have and I will hurt this Earth’s creatures in this life. I eat meats from other creatures and sometimes I don’t even remember to be thankful that a creature died so that I might live. I have hurt people physically and emotionally as well. I have done all these things. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. I think that part of my goal in this life is to work towards good and to give other creatures’ lives meaning. Therefore, even though I killed this bird, I can honor its life and how it died by working to not forget my place in this world and my goal of doing good for all the life I encounter.
Unravel the story of the largest mass execution to ever occur on US soil:
Helene had learned that another great-great-great uncle named Anders Johan Carlson had served in the Union army during the Civil War, and had been standing guard during the execution of several Indians, the sight of which had made him vomit-even, I imagined, as a crowd stood by stolidly, or perhaps even jubilantly
Being a little quirky myself, I could really relate to the following article:
I knew that Jim Hankin was dead before the medical examiner came out of the house to ask me to identify the body.
Jim hadn’t answered his phone for a week. And he didn’t come to the door when I went to his house Saturday.
But that wasn’t the tip-off.
Jim was a recluse, a modern-day hermit who lived in a house so crammed with old tin cans and piles of newspaper that even a cat would have a hard time slinking into some of the rooms.
The reason that I knew Jim was dead on Monday morning was that he hadn’t called his 15-year-old next-door neighbor, Sam, to sing “Happy Birthday” like Donald Duck. It was his signature move.
We obsess in this country about how to eat and dress and drink, about finding a job and a mate. About having sex and children. About how to live. But we don’t talk about how to die. We act as if facing death weren’t one of life’s greatest, most absorbing thrills and challenges. Believe me, it is. This is not dull. But we have to be able to see doctors and machines, medical and insurance systems, family and friends and religions as informative, not governing, in order to be free.
Claude Stanley Choules, the last known combat veteran of World War I, died Thursday at a nursing home in the Western Australia city of Perth, his family said. He was 110.
I am a little surprised that I didn’t see this sooner. According to MSNBC, the last known combat veteran of WWI died back in May. Having grown up with songs like “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” and “The Green Fields of France,” I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the “Forgotten Generation.” It was a great and terrible war that we thought would be enough to end all wars, but we’ve seen many wars since then.
I wonder what Claude thought of all the wars that have been fought since he set down his tin hat and gun. I wonder what our legacies will be. We live in a strange time where there are more nuclear weapons in existence than needed to kill the entire Earth many times over. How close our lives swing in pendulous and delicate balances of power.
Yet through all this, I find the Earth and its people can be as rich in love and kindness as it can be self-destructive and angry. Again, a delicate balance of many good things and many things that aren’t so good. I think our natures are being played out as we fight the urgings of our DNA with the knowledge we gain in each lifetime.
I am looking towards the future with much hope, though I know that one slight thing could bring about a sad and dreary end. As the “Forgotten Generation” finally is taken from living breathing beings and immortalized into the pages of history, I hope that such a generation shall never have to live that way again.