Jerry Collamer muses on the sanctity of life, the impact and burden of death, and the awakening of a child to the reality of the world.
Much of life I don’t understand. I never have.
When my brother and our neighbor Mike would go on BB-gun shooting sprees, killing sparrows in our back yard, I thought it was make believe.
Like when we played soldiers in the front yard, where we’d die from make believe bullets, to be resurrected by a pal administering battlefield first aid. Then we’d get back to killing each other until mom called us in for dinner.
Killing things is a big deal in boyhood. But when the sparrow fell at my feet, fluttering there, mortally wounded from my brother’s dead aim, reality set in.
Killing is real. Death is real. Life is real.
The dying sparrow speaks to me everyday,
“Don’t kill anything, Jerry.”
He repeats and repeats,
“Don’t kill life. Don’t kill ideas. Don’t kill friendships. Just don’t kill.”
Killing stops creativity. Killing stops potential. Killing stops enthusiasm. Killing stops possibility.
But killing never stops love. Love is indomitable, as we continue to love those no longer of flesh and blood.
We will die, but the human spirit never dies. Love is transcendent.
Love is the universal human thread tying us together, from the cave, to our contemporary split levels with AC and into whatever comes next.
The love part I get. The killing part I’ll never get.
The fluttering, dying sparrow jolted my consciousness. It still does.
I was seven.