Two days ago I killed a big, beautiful, seagull. I pulled into a large parking lot behind a fast food chicken joint in my town and ran over it. The bird had been just landing, wings flapping, on the pavement between a hedge and the other cars, when I came along with my monstrous and heavy car, not fast but too close for reaction time to hit the brake. It tried to fly up but I was too close. I hated watching it rolling into a crushed, dead heap in my side mirror behind me.
I sat there and screamed and cried for some time. I was already distraught from a fight with my partner. I left sobbing and yelling messages for someone else. Then I called my guy to tell him I was going to come home and get a shovel, gloves and garbage bag to bury the bird I murdered. He offered to come help me bury the bird despite previous things said to me. I said yes, and we did it.
The seagull I killed was incredibly beautiful and large. It’s thick, soft grey plumage, danging neck and head, strong wings, perfect feet, along with strings of orange intestines hanging out broke my heart. In the parking lot where we used a flat shovel to scoop up the bird’s body, there had been a bit of red organ tossed into the bushes which had been driven out of the seagull’s body when I drove over it. I made myself look at the whole bird, place it into the large hole we dug carefully, memorize everything I had destroyed. My tears flowed onto the bird’s body and into the soil. I don’t remember when I have cried as fully as I did then. I tried to layer the soil carefully over the bird, put some sea snail shells and a delicate little white and yellow mushroom that had popped up nearby on top.
Seagulls are scavengers, and I’m sure they eat a number of things alive. They have sharp beaks which tear apart whatever they eat, and, beautiful as they are, aren’t known for being nice. They are as ruthless as us humans when it comes to eating. I wonder now if I would be able to stop eating animals if I had to witness the torture and murder they endure being slaughtered for human consumption. I don’t know how I should feel, think or be with this, but I’m clear on one thing: I hated killing the seagull just because I wasn’t paying enough attention.
I’d like to believe this somehow represents how much I have not been aware of and not paying attention to some aspect of myself, but I avoiding becoming attached emotionally to that conclusion. I know I was actively mourning and grieving more than the bird’s death.