A while back I was heading to a training job I was doing. It was a job not to far from where I live, something I was good at, enjoyed doing and paid very reasonable. So I was in a relatively optimistic and joyful mood when I entered the expressway. Relative only to the hour of the day in which I had to be in my car to get there on time.
I was just about 10 minutes on my way, listening to the radio and all in all a very good mood when I noticed something moving up back and forth on the expressway in front of me… I couldn’t quite make out what it was but it seemed to be some kind of leaf, albeit a rather large leaf. I took my foot off the gaspedal to make sure it wasn’t anything really big and even though I was slowing down.. the thing in front of me was vast approaching. Getting closer it become easier to see. It was a pheasant in distress and it didn’t take me long to find out why. ON the road lay another pheasant, most likely this pheasants mate, splattered minutes earlier. The sight itself was distressing but the panic and need for action in the eyes of the other pheasant was making my stomach turn. He was pacing back and forth, trying to get close to it’s mate that lay on the concrete, but unable to get much closer because of all the traffic approaching and passing by. He was clearly afraid but also determined to get to his dear friend.
I was slowing down more to avoid him and put light around him and his mate, but my response came too late. The car in front of me, obvious had not seen, or cared enough to slow down and hit the poor pheasant head on. I hadn’t want to see that and I didn’t want it to end this way…. I was angry at the driver in front of me, but another thought, more prominent on my mind, took a hold of me much stronger than even my anger: love.
It has now been a few weeks but the image in my mind is still as fresh as morning dew. I still see the look in the eye of the pheasant and it’s distress. It was clear that this birds need to get to it’s partner was grave and won from any thoughts of avoiding his own imminent death. The love that radiated from this image was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. How could something so beautiful as the love between these animals, be so brutely ended by our need for speed, advancement and our general attitude of being above it all.
In Michigan, where I often come, just before deer season, you can find many many deer along the road.. killed by our fast approaching cars, no match for our heavy cars and high speed. People in Michigan mostly have become accustomed to it and even see them as a ‘pest’ which makes hunting them ‘ok’. Funny enough because they are with so many, in Michigan eating deer meat is seen as something for crazy hunters and people with no money. ‘Regurlar’ people rather eat beef, while here in Holland, deer is a delicacy that is served usually only in the harvest season. The same goes for the pheasant in Holland, by the way.
The image of the love between them stuck with me and outweighed the sadness of their loss…. like the ending of Aida, a love that would overcome time. A reminder that love is for ever and beyond life itself. But also the pain and perhaps suffering that comes with such a love. A reminder for myself to stay in that love and to remember that beautiful need to take care of eachother and to be with the other, no matter what. A reminder that animals know love, express love and care. A reminder that they too know fear and conquer. A reminder that we are not above anything, we are just faster and more ignorant to the beauty that lays in all that we are if we don’t focus on thinking, if we are not in a hurry and when we don’t try so damn hard to do something, be someone and get somewhere. A reminder to take life as it comes, and remember that love is stronger than any obstacle. It connects, it shares, it bonds and it goes far beyond time and space.
I choose that as my frame of reference for that day as I did my training. Not the money, not because I was good at it, or that I didn’t have to travel for hours… But the need to connect, the love that runs in every action on this world, even if in most cases it looks on the surface to be movement in the opposite direction. Love grows with love. Hate grows with hate. In the end, our expression of hate, is our hunger for love….. it just takes looking a little deeper beyond what people do, into who people are.
Two cars hit and killed the physical bodies of two birds that day. The image of what it represented has been imprinted in my mind and will stay with me forever.