A bedtime story for Jimmy.

Inspired by hearing a young boy shoot a wild turkey early on Saturday morning.


Because we have horses, friends living close to us called to warn that early on Saturday morning, a young lad, accompanied by his father, would be experiencing what it was like to shoot a wild turkey at close range.  The turkeys are easy targets; almost pets.

So it was that around 6:30am last Saturday morning that a single shot rang out and we knew that a turkey had been killed. Now in fairness to American history it’s not that long ago that the early settlers relied on hunting to survive.  The first permanent European settlement in Oregon wasn’t until 1811. Thus hunting may be something close to the American’s heart; so to speak.  However, this eight-year-old lad is facing a future that demands that he and all his generation accept that embracing nature, totally and whole-heartedly, is their only hope of not being the last generation of humans on this beautiful planet.

Jean and I thought the following was an appropriate way of expressing our feelings.


Dear Jimmy,

What was it like to point your gun at that turkey and pull the trigger?  What did you feel as you saw the bullet hit and the turkey fall to the ground?

Now I wasn’t there with you, of course, but I could imagine the thrill and excitement that you would have felt. Not many young lads of your age get to handle a gun and shoot a turkey.

But Jimmy, what we feel as an eight-year-old is a very poor indicator for what we feel when we are much older.  Possibly the only exception is love, which is a golden feeling at any age.

So, if you will forgive this sixty-nine-year old from reading an eight-year-old a very short bedtime story, I will get started.

The world, this enormous world, must seem infinitely huge to you.  Even if you stand on the shoulders of your Dad, your eyes ten feet above the ground, the horizon is just four miles away.  You could run to that horizon in less than an hour.  However, to run all the way around the world at that same speed would take you, dear Jimmy, nearly two hundred and sixty days of running; running twenty-four hours a day!  It’s a very big planet!

Look at this wonderful picture of our planet.  Have you ever seen anything more beautiful!

Planet Earth 1


It must seem to you that there is nothing an eight-year-old could do to harm this planet we all live on.

That’s true! There is nothing you could do to harm the planet.

However, when you get older and reach the point where you have a job, drive a car, fly to places on an aeroplane, heat your house and a million other things that we grown-ups do, then all of us together, all the millions of people living on this green planet can hurt it.

Indeed, Jimmy, you may have already heard of things like climate change and global warming being spoken about on the television.  All of the people living on this planet are hurting it.  And the people who are really going to see how we humans are hurting the planet, and how the planet is changing, are all the people who, like you Jimmy, are not yet even finished school.

So what does shooting a wild turkey have to do with caring for your planet throughout the many years ahead for you?

If we care for nature then we care for the health of our lands, for our forests and for our seas. We are careful with how we live our lives.  If we care for nature then as we live our lives we do our best to leave things better for those that come after us.

Jimmy, sleep well my young man. Wake knowing the death of that turkey was not in vain.  Wake with love in your heart. Love for every living creature.

Only love for all creatures will offer all creatures a future.
Only love for all creatures will offer all creatures a future.


Written and offered with peace.




7 thoughts on “A bedtime story for Jimmy.

  1. From where I sit, unless it was eaten (or Jimmy decides to become a vegetarian), the turkey will have died in vain. Am I missing the point somewhere? If life is a turkey shoot, by the way, I think my gun has jammed! 😉


  2. Well, I hope for his own sake, that that unfortunate boy realizes, soon enough, what a turkey his dad is… But does not act as his dad taught him to do.

    Even hunting turkeys with stones would be unfair: they are pets, indeed. Same for Canada geese (I even stroked a wild one a few days ago, above Tahoe’s Emerald Bay, in exchange for rice cake)


    1. Patrice, your comment is most welcome especially as I know you are under some time pressure today. Our experience is that it doesn’t take long for wild animals to recognise when a human adores them and let them come very close to them – well within their ‘comfort zone’. Oh, and Tahoe is a wonderful place to be. Almost within visiting distance of Merlin, OR! 😉


  3. I lived in the country and even though for several years I became a Veggie.. I hope Jimmy listens to you story… and I hope he never kills in vain too..

    This so reminds me of my childhood days… When I would sit and eat game birds filled with shot which had been blown to bits in the shoots. ( My Dad knew a game keeper ) so the badly damaged birds, such as Grouse and Pheasant we would get cheap!!. But the led shot would be often buried in the meat.. Dad would tell us children be sure and spit out the lead.. Now when the main meat on the menu was snared rabbit.. Game bird was a change.. Dad had a family of 7 to clothe and feed..

    Now I am getting to my point..

    My dad took my brother out one day to shoot with an air gun in the woods.. He too had never been shooting before.. . He aimed at a sparrow, never thinking he would hit it.. . He pulled the trigger.. and wham. the bird fell to the ground dead.. My Brother never went out shooting again… And even years later he still recalled the guilt of killing an innocent bird..

    There is a difference in killing to eat.. and killing for pleasure… Many think their slabs of meat come in plastic from fridges in the supermarket… Many forget the horrors of the slaughter houses and the terror of the animals as they cue up.. waiting their turn.. The Pigs especially know what is happening as they squeal in terror ..

    I went to a chicken slaughter house aged 14 as part of a Work trip outing.. Horrendous… as birds were hung upside down on hooks squawking.. You would be amazed at how cruel it was.. I came away with my uniform splatted in red.. and a stench that lasted all day in my nostrils.. So a bullet for some may seem a better option… Its hard to say unless you are a bird..

    I hope young Jimmy thinks twice…if there is a next time.. But its the culture too out their in the states so I doubt he will …
    So sorry for the Turkey.. Paul..


    1. Oh Sue, what a generous use of your time to offer such a pertinent story of your own experiences. When we stop and reflect, there is so much about the natural world to offer us such deep and important lessons. John Hurlburt and I were on the phone an hour ago talking over the idea of a series on essays on Learning from Dogs about how we humans are of Nature, part of Nature, and how for so many that has been forgotten. With the dire consequences that we are starting to see all around us. Thank you, Sue.


      1. We are all of us Part of nature Paul…. I hope I can teach my 3 yr old granddaughter to love all of nature.. .. I posted some pictures of our day… She loves the outdoors… 🙂


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