It was strange enough that I had been thinking about how indifferent we seem to suffering and the chick presented.
I was genuinely wondering how odd the mechanism is that we can go about our business and deliberately ignore the destitute and yet be a superbly generous body of people when it comes to tv charity appeals like, “children in need”. What is it that we put on such a harsh exterior but reach for the wallet in the privacy of our homes.
Of course, this is social engineering not a reflection of our true nature. As John Berger said, “They have us believing that we must all work for our personal exemption from the common fate.”
After the chick, I knew the universe hadn’t finished with the lesson.
The next was a few days later in York. I had pulled into a quiet side street but unbeknownst to me, on a conspicuous corner. A police car drove past slowly and I got the feeling I had chosen a wrong spot.
As I was about to start up and move on, a fox streaked across toward a gap in the hedge. It looked at me and I was wondering what was in its mouth. Our eyes met and it dropped the object that I now saw was an adult tortoise shell cat, limp.
I was shocked at the site and at the fact that on meeting my eye, the fox dropped it like a thief caught in the act and sloped away.
Three days ago, I was in Sheffield. It was late and I pulled into a side road by the hospital to do a u-turn.
My headlights immediately lit up another tragic drama. Another fox. This time ragging a rat fiercely from side to side. Caught in the glare, the fox dropped its meal and, like the gaunt relative I’d seen in York, shoes away like a startled burglar.
It was so hungry though that it couldn’t bring itself to run for cover. It simply stalked, looking at the prey and me as if to say “if you don’t want it, do you mind if I?”
The worst was watching the face of the rat, gasping it’s last. Maybe I’m projecting or maybe it’s a mammalian feature but the rat had an air of innocence. I’ve seen this before when my pet gerbils died. No matter how knavish in life, at the end, peace. A peace that makes you want to shout, “No!!! Wait! Stop!”