I drove in silence, as I mostly do, with the road noise and the incessant chirping in my hearing-impaired ear keeping me company.
I smiled recalling my joke with the ENT doctor about the tinnitus--"I don't want the noise to bug me so much that I end up chopping my ear off like Van Gogh." It never takes much to amuse me. No wonder my blood pressure is so normal despite all my venting here at this blog!
A small little bird suddenly approached the vehicle from my right and started dipping down in its trajectory instead of flying up. I didn't care about my sense of humor anymore. I worried that only a miracle would save the bird from getting hit. If it hit the vehicle, when I was driving at 60 mph, death was certain.
I heard the mild thud of the bird hitting the grill. It then bounced off and fell on the road on my left, in the oncoming lane. I looked in the side view mirror as I kept going--the bird was dead.
It was a solemn drive after that.
I felt awful, terribly guilty, that I was responsible for an innocent creature's death. It was a struggle within, justifying to myself that I did not kill the bird. How do people take aim and shoot at birds and deer and more? How can it possibly be a sport to kill a duck that floats by quacking away at whatever? Killing Bambi is fun? Compared to that intentional killing, the accidental death of a small little bird is nothing? Or is it all the same--a kill is a kill? Guilty as charged?
The older I get, the more I seem to be affected by such happenings. Maybe because I understand the fragility of our existence a lot more compared to when I was a young boy, or even a decade ago.
A death is perhaps the best reminder that we are alive. It is not the coffee that reminds us, nor is it the fight with one's spouse or parent. No delicious food makes us reflect on our existence. But, death does. Even the death of a small little bird.