When I was little I loved all animals and insects. In fact I loved them so much that sometimes I accidentally loved them to death.
Like when I fed my fish – day…
It was months before my parents realised what I was doing and we had gone through countless fish (and backyard funerals).
Then there were the skinks.
I could never understand why they didn’t seem to live very long in their little skink houses. The homes I created for them had absolutely everything a skink could ever want! Grass…dirt…water…
When I was a little older I spent a whole day trying to help cicadas out of their shells – partly because I was impatient and partly because I knew they had such a short life span. I just tried to get them out into the big wide world as quickly as possible.
There were no survivors, but I learned my lesson and never tried to hurry them again.
There was one particular incident, however, that haunts me to this day.
When I was about six I discovered a little nest in a small tree around the side of our house. I was absolutely beside myself as I had never seen a nest that close up before, let alone looked inside one. I was dying to take a peek at what I imagined would be a nest full of cute little baby birds.
The tree wasn’t much taller than me and I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to climb up and have a peek inside. The only problem was, the mother bird was always sitting in it and I didn’t want to scare her, so I left it alone.
One day I came outside to find the mother bird gone.
I couldn’t quite see inside the nest, so I tilted it slightly towards me.
I got to see the three most beautiful little eggs tucked cosily among the twigs and leaves…
for about one whole second before they toppled from the nest and smashed upon the ground.
I was a monster.
I felt so guilty that I didn’t go around that side of the house for many months – I couldn’t bear to return to the scene of my crime. I also had paranoid fears that the mother bird would know what I had done and peck out my eyes with her little beak.
But that was all a long time ago – I was just an innocent, curious child. I shouldn’t carry any guilt for those unfortunate accidents.
But I do.