It was on this lonely desert road that most of the killing took place.
First, I killed a snake. Then, I killed a bird. One bird of two. And, knowing what I know about the monogamous pair bonding of birds, I killed either mommy or daddy. I killed innumerable flying insects. A complete carnage of hemolymph (bug blood), wings, and exoskeletons is still splattered across my windshield. But, it was killing the bunny that really did a number on me.
I didn’t feel any discernible bump. I looked in my rearview mirror, praying to see the little guy dashing to safety at the side of the road. Instead, I saw his body rolling with the velocity of my car traveling 85 miles per hour, and tufts of his fur flying in the air. I felt a lump rising in my throat. Horribly upset, I had to pull over and reconsider the whole idea of this road trip.
I had caused the death of countless innocent beings simply because they had gotten in the way of my fun. I hadn’t killed them out of any necessity or mortal danger. I wasn’t starving to death or faced with a “It’s me or you” situation. I just wanted
to get from Point
This ram in Capital Reef was one of the lucky creatures that missed being crushed by my car.
A to Point B. I didn’t need
to. I just wanted to have fun.
I thought back to a time when I was staying at the Korean Monastery in Sravasti, India. I saw an earthworm lying in the middle of a much-used footpath. Thinking that I would save him from possibly being crushed, I picked him up and put him in the dirt beside the path. Immediately, a centipede-like creature crawled from out of nowhere, caught him, and devoured him. I was devastated.
Concerned about the karmic retributions of my actions, I sought counsel from the Zen master. After listening calmly to my distressed retelling of the event, he offered a me humble smile and the best advice I could’ve asked for, “Just don’t know. Don’t think. Just don’t know.”
Pulled off on the side of Utah’s SR-95, I offered up a prayer for the departed soul of the bunny. And the bird, and the snake, and the countless bugs I had killed. I’ve learned that you can’t always save fish from drowning. Om Mani Padma Hum
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