I was first exposed to the concept of death when I was between four and six years old. The backyard of my home was the battleground for my education. The lawn was large and green and full of life. Frogs, toads, and little animals and bugs ran free in the lawn, keeping the place natural and healthy-looking. It was beautiful. The flowers and plants were a nirvana for most of the small animals, including myself. You could truly feel the positive glow of it all.
I used to help my father mow the lawn. Imagine the horror that these little creatures beneath the grass felt, seeing a massive metallic blade spin overhead, sucking everything into its path. I didn’t realize the scope and grandeur of our work on the lawn until I sat there one day, on the newly cut grass, enjoying the smell and feel of it. To my right I noticed a frog hopping with difficulty. He was a victim of the blades. He was bleeding a greenish yellow puss from under its belly, and its eyes were wide and blank.
I didn’t want to pick it up; it was gross. I simply watched it from above. I was so young, and ignorant of the truth. I didn’t see it die. I saw it give up. Its breathing was labored; it was trying to keep its motion fluid and find solace in the trees nearby. Wouldn’t you want to lay your body down in the comfort of the forest when you realize your life is ending? But it stopped, and it just laid there, within arm reach of me, among the clover patch and freshly trimmed grass. I crawled over it and watched it lay there. It was such an innocent situation to witness – a little boy on his hands and knees, head hanging below his shoulders, looking at something on the ground, waiting for something to happen. Nothing happened. I looked at his face for signs, but saw nothing. That was the first encounter.