Wild and Young

I enjoy the retrospect of my youth. It was a time for innocent exploration of my surrounding world. Luckily, I lived near to a region of undeveloped land. Within this paradise was included a creek that ran for miles, a large pond, hills, slopes and numerous trails. Abundant wildlife frolicked about this sphere with rabbits, squirrel, coyote, deer, grouse and many other wonderful creatures. The sphere of wilderness holds many blessings for all to witness. 

Though the beauty of this sphere can be witnessed by all, so can its raw brutal nature be seen. In my experiences, I generally only sought to explore the wilds. In my youth I rarely took of the spoils, instead I only brought home the eloquent pictures the wilderness painted for me; the sweet memories of innocence. 

I could explore for hours on end, days if my parents would allow it. I am thankful that I spent so much of my youth outside among the elements, enticed by the beauty of the natural world. It taught me many lessons and sang many songs that I still remember today. 

One hard and painful lesson that I learned back then was that of respect; the respect for all life. One warm day a friend of mine and I decided to go out exploring, only this time we brought with us our trusty pellet rifles. An act of boyish innocence at first soon turned into a valuable lesson that I still remember as though it were yesterday. 

Along our trail, my cohort spotted a blue-jay perched on a tree branch suspended over the creek. He then took aim and shot the bird, only it wasn’t a direct hit and the bird flopped to the ground. The poor, colorful blue-jay tried desperately to fly. His wing was damaged and he ran, hurriedly across the ground next to the creek in a frantic manner only in attempt to find safety. 

Once more my friend shot at the bird, but missing again, though striking it low on the belly and flipping the creature over. The bird then tried to regain his ground, though this time much more injured. He hobbled along the creek at the waters edge, falling every step and barely able to move. 

At the point of witnessing this act of pure cruelty, I begged my friend to shoot the bird in the head and end his suffering. But as I looked at him, my childhood friend had tears streaming down his face, and could not bring himself to shoot the bird again. 

I stepped through the creek and stood over the dying blue-jay. Blood was streaming from his wounds into the water as his good wing flapped helplessly, spinning him around in a chaotic manner. His chirp was that of pure pain. I placed my rifle against his head and fired the mercy shot; ending suffering and life. My friend looked on in horror, and then smashed his rifle against a nearby tree. 

That day the sorrowful song of pain and suffering rang clear for me. What started as a beautiful day turned dim and grey. I learned that all life matters, and haplessly toying with it is not respectful, nor does it nurture the spirit. This makes the soul cry. Others would say “its just a bird.” To my friend and I it was a life; a lesson of respect. 

In the sphere of wilderness we find all the qualities of thoughtfulness and beauty, though we must seek them out and be mindful. Our actions do hold balance here. Life is a gift, never take it for granted.  

 

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I am an artist, writer, author, philosopher and lover of nature and life. My blog offers a glimpse into my world, my thoughts, my sphere. Enjoy!

35 thoughts on “Wild and Young

  1. Jeremiah… a beautifully told sad lesson…in a very similar manner, I learned the same lesson, when a bird I shot with a pellet gun fell dead at my feet… the tears I shed then, and those I shed today when I read this, hopefully will serve to wash away some of the stain on our karmic burdens that we picked up that day…. and once again a lesson you learned to adopt deep in your heart… well done, and said, again…

    1. I believe all young men can share similarities within this reflection. I only hope that more can learn from it as you and I have than instead just turning the other cheek.

      1. Aye, indeed… maybe that’s why it happened, so we would have the desire, or need, to share the experience?… Perhaps… or not, that might be ego. But it had meaning for me that wants sharing, for certain…

  2. I have a similar story involving a young hawk. I so regret that day of youthful folly and wish I could have learned to respect life in a non-violent way.

  3. Very well written, my brother and I shared a similar story… I am a hunter (not to offend anyone, please) and I have witnessed senseless killing for no other reason to fulfill some perverse desire, not to sustain and fortify for life. It was a very important lesson you learned that day. Some do not learn it, sadly. I will take it one step further and point out that it is just as big and offensive waste of life that this gorging nation throws away so much meat and food product. So sad and senseless.

    1. Thank you. I also hunt as my family has for generations, but never for sport. I was taught to only take what is needed and give thanks for it. A very true point you bring up as well.

  4. Loved your words and message
    I cant even fish, so totally connect with what you just said
    This is a magnificent world full of life and love that not everybody can see
    they look, but they dont see
    Thanks

  5. This piece was very powerfully written. It can often be difficult to express ideas that go beyond the words used to write them, but I feel you did that quite well with this piece. Well done.

  6. A very powerful reflection. The reader is there with you and your friend; we hear the shot, we see the bird; we feel the loss and the hole in our own hearts.
    The mindless killing of the innocent has always been a consequence of our spiritual fall. A fine reflection as we approach Good Friday.

  7. I remember one time my mom had me in tears over her killing a bumblebee because it was in the car and I was scared of it. Traumatic teasing from Mom aside, I have always been very ‘oversensitive’ and empathetic, and hate the fact that it seems like some lessons almost always end up being learned this way…and some people unfortunately never learn. 😦 Well written.

  8. I have a bird story as well. It illustrates the cruelty of nature’s inhabitants in their quest for survival. We were eating lunch at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Near us, among the foliage, stood a great white egret. He was completely motionless, in wait for his prey, his next meal. Some nearby children were feeding french fries to some sparrows. One of the kids threw a morsel near the egret. An unsuspecting sparrow went for the food. Just as he landed, the egret lunged at the sparrow and caught it in its long, slim beak. The little fellow had no chance of escape. The children were stunned. Some cried. Others ran to their mothers in shock at the event. The egret flew onto a nearby pavilion with its catch. In seconds, he devoured his little snack. Until then, I thought the egrets only ate fish since I always saw them hunting at a pond next to our home. I got an education that day as well. Big fish eating little fish, big birds eating little birds. It’s an enormous restaurant out there.

  9. Your story is an important message for all of us. We exist within a matrix of interelated kingdoms. We have much to learn from your story. As it is an example of our interconnection with both the human and animal kingdom. This beautiful descriptive story of the blue jay provides us with a living example of the capacity to feel empathy, compassion, and the deeply painful despair of sincere remorse.
    Thank you for writing this story as if we were there at the water’s edge with you.

  10. I love the depth, and brainstorming involved in this piece… its kind of similar to my first blog ” Whats makes a pop star” in a sense were you have to go through your own journeys, mistakes, beliefs to get what you want out of life, or at least strive for.. to get out of life!

    Like love, I never experience true love , but I write about it, I long for it, I sing about it, I personally explore my own gifts of love ( chuckle) but when we are young we love hard, we don’t care hard, we care hard, and that’s the opportunity to learn about ones self, to improve, to be the best you can be, but also not turning back and making the same mistakes you once have done!

    Being young is a gift and wild is just an accessory to it in my opinion! I just don’t know I am still figuring out my path in life! But awesome post…

  11. You and I seem to share some interests, and I look forward to reading more. Thanks for following my blog – I appreciate it very much!

  12. It is amazing how seemingly small segments of our lives deepen who we are. As I read this I was reminded of my own childhood and also of one of my heros’ (John Woolman). Life is so important even the life of an animal to take a life should be done with holy fear.

  13. I don’t know who I felt sadder for. You & your friend or the blue-jay. Good post. It’s a lesson that comes to most of us I think, in one way or another.

  14. Well, I can certainly see why you have so many followers… 😉

    After reading two posts, I am becoming addicted to your writing voice. I love the clarity and vision you show, and the ability to see beneath the surface…and take us there as well! Thank you very much for your writing, and for letting us live in your world. 🙂

  15. seems to be a rite of passage for many youth – i remember my brother going through something similar with a squirrel – he ended up drowning it in the lake because they couldn’t shoot it anymore…. so eloquently put down on paper, to entice those to remember these same important lessons.

  16. Thanks a lot for sharing this story with the rest of the world. This experience is yet another valuable addition to our daily learnings, that life in its varied forms is beautiful, respectful and should be valued always. Brilliantly written.

  17. beautiful tragedy written clearly and without missing a beat… the beat of a brokenhearted child and the beat of lost life… all blanketed with the tender wondrous beauties of the sphere around you. Thank you so much for sharing tender memories along with strongly masculine thoughtful perspective.

  18. Sadly, I remember all too well how cruel the boys in my suburban neighborhood were to wildlife. Whether burning ants under magnifying glasses, blowing up habitat with fireworks, swinging cats by their tails and throwing them down water drains where they could not escape, or doing as your friend did–shooting at birds and squirrels with bb guns–I often wondered what was wrong with them. Was it curiosity, power, or a right of passage? I might be making a gross generalization here, but this cruelty seems more prevalent in males and can easily extend beyond the formative years well into adulthood. If that first lesson doesn’t get through, there is something tragically wrong. My father always said, “You can tell everything you need to know about a person by the way they treat animals.”

  19. It is unfortunate that this “rite of passage” occurs, however it is the ego of man that needs to test nature and themselves. I am glad that you were exposed to this in your youth and in a manner where the two of you had to learn this lesson and find the most humane way to aid the painful cries. I am struggling with what I need to say, but I wish that others could see and actually feel what suffering brought on by the hands of others is like. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Heartbreaking. I am so sorry that you had to go through this experience.
    You know, I cannot figure out why God seems to have made it necessary (not just optional, like for those living in the Arctic) for human beings to consume animal protein. I have been vegan 4 times (about 1 to 2 1/2 years each time), but I have never been able to sustain it. I have been lacto-ovo vegetarian for most of my life. I know I would feel stronger if I ate meat, but I just can’t bring myself to. Jesus ate fish, which totally baffles me. I don’t understand why, to meet our nutritional needs, we have to kill and/or farm animals.

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