Monday, June 05, 2017

Why I always appologize to birds

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I guess I was about seven years old when I started hanging out with Judy Jenkins ( fake name in case old Judy is still around and reads this). She had an older brother Ron, about eighteen, with shifty eyes, who tried to touch me once or twice. If Ron is still around, he's getting on in years and is probably  serving time for child molesting, or perhaps he is still hanging around schoolyards, drooling, with his hand in his pocket.
Judy also had a little brother Murray, whose nose ran constantly and you could count the slime trails on his sleeves which he used for handkerchiefs. Kids used to beat Murray up a lot. I think I slapped him a few times myself because he constantly whined.
They lived in the house next door to me on Jackson Ave. Their mom was a widow and worked as a waitress. She wasn't home much because she had to work over-time just to keep food on the table. So her younger kids were frequently left under the supervision of Ron (Bad judgement call). Judy was a bit wild and that suited me fine. I was left unsupervised pretty much all the time.
We climbed trees together and  built flimsy, very shaky and dangerous tree houses. We went swimming in the Grand River with no one to watch over us. The current was strong in some areas and the industrial pollution made it smell bad. This was before the city council cracked down on polluters. Lord knows what kinds of poisons we absorbed into our bodies and swallowed. In other words, we had a ball.
 One day, while we were playing in the apple tree in Judy's back yard, we saw a baby bird fall from a nest right near the top of the tree. We must have shaken that tree so hard that we shook the poor thing loose from it's nest. We scrambled down the tree and went to examine the bird. We could tell right away that it was badly injured. There was blood on it. It was making little noises like, 'eeep, eeep'.
Judy said the most merciful thing we could do was put it out of it's misery. Before I could stop her she hefted a large rock over her head and smashed it down on the poor birdy. When she lifted the rock up to see if it was dead, it was still making little noises, like 'ep, ep'.
"It's still alive Judy," I yelled at her. I was pretty upset by now.
 Instead of giving the chick the 'coup de grace' with the rock, Judy said,"Let's bury it anyway."
I admit I went along with the plan and we dug a pretty deep hole in the sand box and dropped the wee thing in. As we started filling in the hole, I heard a final 'ep' and that sound haunted me for days. We placed the murder weapon on top as a grave marker and I went home and cried.
 But in the usual manner of children, we both recovered sufficiently to be curious as to what the bird looked like after a week in the ground and we dug it up. The smell made me gag but I looked anyway and from that experience I learned that all things born of the earth revert back to the earth. They break down into their basic elements and become part of the soil to nourish other living things like bugs and worms.
To this day, when a bird turns a beady, penetrating eye on me, I feel guilty and whisper, "I'm sorry."

I learned other lessons from my bird experience. One of which, was that all life experiences, good, bad or mediocre, must come to an end. My stay in this place has been wonderful. I thank anyone and everyone who has taken a moment to read my scribbles.  I very much appreciate it. But ....
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--"

And the time has come to take my leave of you. Because of  health problems and utter weariness and a broken heart, this experience has come to a close.
Like any self respecting Genie I will now dematerialize and scatter my molecules on this  beautiful, warm, summer evening's breeze and become one with the earth and the universe.
The Genie is no more.