Life’s earliest lessons are frequently brutal.
I learned a hard one at 10 years of age when I accidentally caused the violent death of a chicken. Staring at the mutilated corpse at my feet, I was filled with guilt and remorse. It had been an accident, but I knew that it was my fault.
All those years ago, I was living on a farm. No-one but townies had to buy eggs in those days. If you lived on a farm, you had chickens. Imagine a bright Spring morning. The sun was sparkling in the dew-drops caught in the spider webs strung out in the long grass. My cousin Ashleigh and I were strolling through the paddock swinging a pail of food scraps. I had stayed at their house over night and now we were off to feed the chickens before breakfast. As we walked, the chickens were running ahead of us clucking in anticipation and occasionally scattering when we got too close. To this day, I still don’t know what inspired me to do it, but I ran a few steps, chasing the chickens. “Don’t chase the chickens” admonished Ashleigh. Of course not. I knew better. Still, What was the harm?. It was fun and I did it again, just to see them scatter. “Don’t chase the chickens!” again from Ashleigh. I’d had enough chasing chickens already and agreed, but disaster was just getting started. A few seconds of folly had been enough to fire up Rocky, the rottweiler trotting along behind us. Chickens were suddenly a game bird! Instinct kicked in and, with an exited bark, Rocky charged at the nearest chicken. It was awful to watch.