The sometimes surprising consequences of being good.
I was still young when I realized that being good could also be dangerous.
I was maybe 8 years old when I had discovered that I could throw stones and that I could throw them very far. I had a good arm. One day I saw a friend of mine across the street but he could not see me so I decided to throw a stone, a small stone at him, to surprise him.
I looked around near my feet and I picked up a nice round stone and I threw it at him for fun. The stone flew very beautifully in the air and landed directly on his head. My friend immediately yelled and started to cry so loud that his mother came out on the street to see what was wrong with him. I just stood there across the street far away and looked. My friend never found out that this pain in his head was from a stone so he never found out it was from me and I never told him. This small video of my past still plays in my head sometimes and I still feel ashamed of it. I was amazed that I could be so accurate but I was ashamed that I was so accurate. It still hurts me to this day.
And because I am a slow learner I needed another experience about the meaning of being good before I could understand a little deeper. This second lesson has to do with a gun and again about being accurate. In Canada some people who live in the countryside and those who buy a hunting license can own a hunting rifle. These are long guns about a meter long and they are used for hunting for food. This is common in some parts of Canada. My father had been in the Second World War, was familiar with guns and still had such a gun in our house. It could be used to hunt rabbits or a type of bird called a partridge. He needed to buy a license to hunt in the fall but not to own the gun. We all knew about this gun but never touched it without permission. He had even taken me to the local country dump and had shown me how to use it and to shoot at empty cans and bottles. Maybe one day it would be mine.
We lived in the countryside and my friend lived close by on a large farm. My friend talked with me and told me we could go hunting on his family’s land. I was about 14 years old and I decided I was old enough and experienced enough to go with him and I took my father’s gun without his permission and my friend took his father's gun without his permission and we imagined we were too big hunters going hunting for large wild animals. It was going to be an adventure and maybe we could surprise our parents and bring home something to eat. We walked through a big field towards the forest with our big guns and suddenly I saw a small bird land on the fence wire close to a fence post. I decided that I could practice some hunting skills before we entered the forest. I stopped raised my gun, aimed directly at the bird and fired. The bird did not move. I walked up closer, then closer, and the bird still did not move. I walked up to the bird and there was a drop of blood on his feathers below his neck and he was dead and was still sitting on the wire leaning against the post with his tiny feet still holding the wire. I touched it and it was warm. I looked at that bird for a long time and I could not believe how good this shot had been and now I had taken away the life of this little free bird and he didn't even move.
I remember turning around and returning home right away with my big gun and my friend could not understand why I was going back home. That was the first and last time I went hunting with a gun. I am not proud of this. Now I only hunt with my camera, and I sometimes wonder where I would be today if I had not been so accurate with a gun.