I like to live my life without harbouring regret. If something doesn’t work out it has taught me a lesson I wouldn’t have learnt had I not tried it. That said, there are two things that I do struggle to forget or think about without applying the term. Do I wish I hadn’t done them? Yes. As a vegetarian with hippy credentials and a sincere love of animals, it is hard not to regret killing something…
Regret 1: Screaming a baby bird to death.
Yes. That’s right. I once screamed so loud that I killed a small bird. Somewhat ironically, I was actually guarding the baby bird which had presumably fallen out of its nest, and had just noticed a large bird of prey sitting in the walnut tree overlooking the rockery where the innocent and totally vulnerable little ball off fluff was sitting. I ran outside, waving my arms and screaming at the hawk thing to go away, and watched in horror as the little bird fell over backwards in instant heart failure. The giant bird left the branch and disappeared from the garden, and by the time I had been somewhat consoled, dad had removed the dead bird on his gardening spade and I was urged to forget the ordeal. Alas, I never could. The guilt has stayed with me.
Regret 2: Pressing a bee to death.
Yes. Unfortunately I did that too, although again it was a total accident. It was a beautiful summer day and mum was doing some ironing. She had a big sheet laid over the ironing board and we were sitting about the house probably drawing pictures of cute animals surrounded by little pink hearts, when she exclaimed- ‘Oh! What’s this?’, and propped the iron on the end of the board to take a closer look. Halfway down the sheet was a small lump. Unable to provide an answer to her question, and also unable to resist poking it, I poked it. As I pressed it with one finger it gave out a sort of wet ooze and a muted drunken buzz. I didn’t need to wait for the big reveal to know what I had done. No amount of hand washing since can make clean that murdering finger.
Near regrets include catching frogs and putting them in the water butt, unaware that they can’t actually get out again, and that they can’t actually swim forever (don’t worry- dad rescued them); and cutting worms in half (but that’s ok because both halves live on right…? …right?).
Because of my sinful childhood and its 2 major regrets, I now live a life of repentance. I don’t eat meat, I feed the birds, I rescue rogue snails that are crossing my path and I hug any animal I can get my hands on- I am virtually a Buddhist in my protection of all creatures, and yet…
Like many other people, I will always have regrets about the birds and the bees.