The (Re) Cycle of Life

A couple times a week I leave my home and drive eight miles down the mountain to do my food shopping and errands. The first couple of times I did it, I will admit, I was terrified. I’m not used to driving windy country roads and I also have problems with vertigo. Going down anything, especially a mountain is not my favorite thing to do. The way I got through it (and still do), is to say mantras and keep my eyes on the road.

This morning I felt more relaxed and actually could look at the scenery while I drove; that’s how I noticed several huge birds flying around. I thought, They look like turkey vultures. Turkey Vulture in flight

A minute later I saw why they were flying overhead. A dead deer laid by the side of the road and three turkey vultures were feasting. I’m guessing the others were flying, waiting for their turn or were scared away by the passing cars. I only looked for a couple seconds. My heart felt sad for the poor deer.

As I continued down the mountain, I thought about the impermanence of life and yet at the same time, how all sentient beings really never die. Well, that’s what Thich Nhat Hanh said in one of his dharma talks and it makes sense to me. Yes, the deer was killed but it soon became food for the birds and whatever other critters might have shown up. The essence of the deer became part of the birds, who ate it’s flesh… and someday those same birds will become food for something else. Maybe not for another creature but their bodies will decompose and become part of the earth, which will help grow flowers or grass or trees.

Even though I understand about impermanence, I still felt sorry for the deer.




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