Tuesday, September 21, 2010


When I was a young boy I killed a turtle with a baseball bat for no reason other than to see what would happen when I hit it. I threw it up into the air out in the field that bordered the river, took aim as the hapless reptile fell and swung as hard as I could. My destiny sounded in the hollow crack that launched an innocent soul into whatever heaven awaits defenseless animals slaughtered by evil children. The effects of my action moved out into the universe and are moving still these many years later. In the short term ants feasted. Worms too, as well as flies and all manner of bacteria. Energy passed into new life forms, flesh and bone joined the earth and blood and lymph became clouds and rain. In the long term I was forever changed. I walked the hundred feet to where the shattered creature landed and looked down upon my doom. I knew then and there that I had crossed a line that could not be recrossed. There was no returning to the way things were before, for me or for the turtle whose life I had taken. I knew there would be a reckoning.

I have never forgotten what I did or the violent, senseless nature of my act and even though I tried to make up for it by being good, I approach the end of my life with resignation and a keen awareness. I know that when the end comes and I die and am reincarnated I will wake to find that I have returned to life as a turtle walking slowly through the grass in a field by a river.


  1. OMG, Doug. If you wake on the other side to find yourself a turtle, you'll get a break. The kid who finds you is likely to be more like me and mine, who would simply put you on the other side of the road and send you on your way. Rest easy, friend! Your own awakening on that fateful day was all that the Universe needed.

    Now, if you tell me that this was all make-believe and my heartstrings were pulled for nothing...THEN you have some karma to be wary of ;)

  2. It's true, Mads. Every word. I've been working to get that 'nice lady' reprieve but if I don't I will deserve what I get and try to take it as I gave it.

  3. Great opening line. Very effective writing. Sad, touching, because its oh so human...every1's done something they regret and feel remorse for, things they wish they could re-do or fix...

    I found this to be a very moving, emotional piece.

    Julie Johnson

  4. Julie, thank you for your kind words. I've never told that story before. Still feel bad about it as I guess you can tell.