I marched along, daydreaming. About what I don’t remember but it was likely about my next meal. What would it be? Rifle in hand, but not on my shoulder as would be proper. I was just too, well, lazy, and was alone anyway so I was free to do as I pleased. Suddenly a slight movement just barely caught my eye, from the side. I stopped and turned toward it. What was it? I stood silently, staring intently in the direction from where I had sensed the movement. There it was again, just slight, and silent. I raised and cocked my rifle as stealthily as I could and took aim. The target was tiny in my sights. This was going to be one heck of a shot, and no second chance. Breath… Aim… Slooowly squeeze the trigger. Bang! Where’d it go? Did I miss? There it is! Moving now but lifeless, falling, ricocheting off branches along the way until it landed very gently on the ground. I made the trek almost half way across the yard to reach it and then, there it lay, motionless, its head almost separated from its body. What a shot! Then, I dropped my BB gun. Now it was I that was motionless, staring at what was a beautiful little bird just seconds ago. I wondered if it had family, if they’d be waiting for him. Guilt overcame me. What had I done! I know I shot at this bird but I never thought I’d hit it. I picked up the BB gun and headed home vowing never again to kill anything unless I was going to eat it or in self-defense. Powerful lesson, forty years ago.
It was a long walk home, probably a good five minutes. Opening the door I welcomed the warming familiarity of the center of my world. “What’s for dinner Mom?”