Friday, January 14, 2011

Reflection after Calamity

Ballou's Monthly Magazine, May 1866
There is a section of the Little Miami River where I occasionally pick up ‘litter’. Last summer, I was returning from these uniquely sandy banks with the day's haul when my face hit something I couldn't see in the dusk. It was a spider's web. As this is a story about someone else's loss, I'm not very comfortable making it center on me. Nevertheless, my reaction was memorable, and it helped me reflect on how I've changed over time.

Several years ago, I probably would have been upset with the fates for cursing me with such an annoyance. My thoughts or exclamations would have been along the lines of: "Damn it! What the hell is that doing there? Leave me alone". (If I wrote or talked about this event, the home or tool I destroyed would have been called a ‘spider web’. No apostrophe-S to indicate possession and acknowledge the individual involved.)

So what was my instant reaction is this case? "Oh crap. I'm sorry."

Obviously, an apology changed nothing. The expression felt appropriate regardless. In that moment, it wasn't clear how much harm I had caused. I only knew my small inconvenience was incomparable to what I presumed the spider must be experiencing. Thinking about this reminded me that I've undergone a dramatic shift in attitude and awareness. One for which I feel quite fortunate.

We must abolish nonhuman exploitation. Embrace your responsibility — become a vegan.


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