I am a murderer and a ruiner of a snow day.
Today it was snowy and so the schools were closed and on a rare zenith both Zach and my boss’ 12 year old son had the day off. So, I brought out Zach to hang out with my boss’ 12 year old son and epic fun was in store. We were messing around having a snowball fight with the 12’s older sister in the snow early in the day and I was down near the chicken coop when I saw her. One of the white chickens was laying down in the mud, legs splayed out to the side, covered in blood and the other chickens were pecking at her. It’s so disturbing to see animal on animal crime and immediately I was unsettled. Realizing that this poor chicken was beyond hope the kids starting to come over on account of my yells, I was trying to figure out what to do. The farm hand was off today and it was early in the day so it’d be hours before my boss could come home to finish it off. I decided I’d drive it into the woods so the coyotes could have a nice supper, however, the ranger wouldn’t start so I was left with no option but to walk it into the woods. The 16 and both 12’s agreed that it’d be hours before a coyote got it and that we should end it sooner. Holding this poor quivering chicken in my hands I realized it would fall to me to put this poor animal out of its misery. So the kids followed me into the woods on what would become the death march that ended the snow day fun.
I didn’t know what I was thinking would happen but we decided that we should put it in the creek and then I decided I couldn’t just let it float down, I had to drown it.
So there I was , the woods bathed in white snow and sunlight, holding a shivering chicken realizing that I had to drown it. I have never killed anything in my life but bugs. I’ll spare you the particulars but the kids stood there watching me for what seemed like an eternity as I held the chicken underwater with tears streaming down my face. After it stopped moving I walked it deeper into the woods and rested the chicken in a tree stump on the property line. As I walked back towards the creek I noticed the kids staring at where I had been and listlessly poking with sticks or kicking rocks. I couldn’t look any of them in the eye.
It hit me as we were walking back to the house that I selfishly wanted the company with me as I had to do the deed, for no other reason than I don’t know if I’d have had to courage to really put it out of its misery alone. I couldn’t see beyond the task I had to accomplish to see how it might affect those around me. I was struck by how I should have behaved like the adult in the situation and sent them back to house to spare those kids the horror of watching a living thing die. No matter how mature you are, watching the life leave another being is disturbing. It feels as if a part of you leaves with the breath that ceases to return. I took that bit of innocence from those kids today as they watched another life die and none of us walked out of those woods the same person we walked in. I know some might say it was just a chicken but truly it was a loss of life and innocence. I regret that I couldn’t see beyond myself to spare those kids some loss of theirs because after all, innocence is like life, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. So if you ever have a chance to protect someone’s innocence, protect it with your life because it is just as precious.