Friday, December 20, 2013

Ain't So Pretty

Trey Smith


Poets, novelists and commentators like to paint nature as such a pretty place. Heck, who among us doesn't swoon at a forest cathedral or become spellbound at the majesty of a roaring ocean. For all its beauty, nature can be what we humans would describe as ruthless and heartless.

This morning Jaz and I were out on the beach as we are almost every morning. As we approached the surf, Jaz frequently enjoys chasing the seagulls. On most occasions, it's no big deal. She goes bounding off in their direction and they take flight -- landing far beyond my dog's reach. Today, however, Jaz went charging off at a particular bird and, in no time at all, I had to call her off. She minds well and broke off the chase almost immediately.

Why did I end this frolic? I realized the bird she was set to chase was wounded. It had a broken wing and showed that it was unable to fly away.

A seagull with an inoperable wing isn't going to last very long. It can't feed itself and it can't escape predators. I don't know if sea lions eat gulls, but there was a large group of them only a few yards out in the surf. Regardless of whether or not this gull becomes a sea lion meal, it will soon be SOME creature's meal. I would be surprised if it lasts until nightfall.

In the overall scheme of things, this happenstance is neither good nor bad. It is the way things are. As a compassionate human, however, it is hard not to feel sorry for this poor bird. It has death written all over its broken wing.

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