A Childhood Lesson

I I wrote this a year ago. It is about a lesson I learned when I was twelve. The picture remains indelibly etched in my mind many years later:


January 31, 2021Crescendo, Day 21—a lesson“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” ― Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s FearWhen I was about 12 years old I saved up my grass cutting money and bought a Red Ryder BB gun. I was proud of it, too.The gun had a pump handle that was located with the trigger, kind of like the cowboy movie rifles, At the end of the barrel was a cap with just the right size hole in it. When I turned the cap, a hole in the barrel opened up and I could pour in about 50 BBs.My father gave me a lesson in gun safety. It consisted of the following:“Son, try to not put nobody’s eye out…And watch out for windows and car headlights too…Now, run in to the fridge and bring me a beer.”The gun was pretty harmless in my hands. I could walk down to the Chattahoochee and shoot holes in the water. I could take strings and hang cans from the trees and shoot them.One time I used glass jars for target practice but after I cleaned all that mess up I had learned to stick to beer cans.The houses in our neighborhood faced the street, and then our back yard bordered on the back yard behind us that belonged to another house that faced another street. Someone had made a fortune selling chain-link fencing in that neighborhood, too.Right on the other side of the chin-link fence was a large pine tree.One day, I stood on our back patio and I saw a bird sitting on a limb in the pine tree. Without thinking, I raised the BB gun and pulled the trigger. I wasn’t really aiming at the bird, I just pointed the gun in that direction.And I was devastated when I watched that pretty bird fall to the ground.I climbed the fence and went over to where the bird lay dead on the ground.I picked up the bird and I started crying.It would never fly again.It would never sing again.I buried the bird. And to the best of my remembrance, I never killed another wild animal. I mean, I’ve done a bit of fishing but somehow that’s different.I learned this:“Death is permanent; if you kill a bird you can’t unkill it.”I later found also that if you hurt someone, you can’t unhurt them.—john schulzPower to the peacefulTommy Cobb photo—“The Wolf Moon”

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