This morning I decided to go for an early morning run as a way to calm my mind before the day’s festivities began. There is a route near my home that takes me along the edge of a wood. It is quiet and peaceful.
When I run, especially when I run alone, I am careful to be aware of my surroundings. I often think of Chandra Levy who disappeared while running through Rock Creek Park in 2001. I am ready to fight any attacker who may make an advance at me. Either that, or I’m ready to sprint off at great speed to the nearest public area. Fight or flight, fight or flight?
Today there was an attack, though it was not an attack on me. As I rounded a bend in the road, a quick flash of grey streaked across my path. A burst of wind caused by the wings of a medium sized hawk brushed against my face! The squirrel was scrambling to get through the fence, and the hawk was not letting up on it’s pursuit.
Instinctively, I stomped my feet and clapped my hands to make as much noise as I could. The squirrel got away and the hawk perched itself atop the fence and turned around to glare at me.
Immediately I began to feel bad. Had I just caused a hungry hawk to go without its breakfast? Did it have hungry hawk babies nesting nearby that would also go hungry? Was the squirrel hurt and bleeding in the woods suffering a painful death despite my attempts to “rescue” it?
I had just foiled the food chain.
For the rest of my run, I thought about this. I was almost afraid to run the same route home. I imagined the hawk waiting for me on the same fence post ready to claw off my face!
One of the reasons I am a vegetarian is because I do not want to cause suffering. As a human I have this choice. Hawks do not. Their long sharp talons and curved beaks are not conducive to berry picking and nut cracking. My flat teeth and opposable thumbs are perfect for it! ;)
Either way, the circle of life must go on. Eat what you will and be merry!