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.
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!
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.
Written and offered with peace.