All creatures great and small

I am genuinely upset.

*Strolls over to drinks cabinet*
*Pours herself a drink to steady hand*

I am still very much affected by what just happened.

*Pours another drink*

This weekend I decided to engage in the first bit of gardening I was able to do after my lung illness. So there I was worrying about my little aches and pains if it would trigger yet another collapse. There was a nice breeze up, trying its very best to blow away the stench that had been lingering outdoors ever since our proximate farmer sprayed about 22,000 liters of manure on the fields at the back of our patch of land. Just as I was finishing up the borders before putting the lawn mower away after trimming 3,6 acres of moss ridden lawn I went over a patch covered with leaves and old bits of twigs...
And then the mower caught something and the engine failed.
I thought it was a stone. So I tilted the machine on its side. And then I got the fright of my life.
A hedgehog! It was stone dead, I'd killed it.

*Pours another drink*

It was an instantaneous death. The little neck snapped and the chest was twisted in a very strange shape. A little red line marked where the blade had ripped across its little throat.
I wouldn't know what to do if had been badly maimed and still alive. Probably phoned the vet or the animal ambulance.
The poor little bugger. It was a probably still in hibernation or just about to give birth. According to my Garden Wildlife Book by Mark Golley :

The female builds a nest of grass and leaves in which to give birth (a similar nest is built for hibernation). Individuals only really make contact with each other after hibernation (which lasts from October to March or April), when mating takes place.

And to make me feel even worse it told me this too:

The gentle pointed face and the entire underside are covered in coarse pale buff hair. Note the teddy bear button black eyes and the slightly upturned snout.

My neighbour was out and about himself. He said: "Ah don't feel to bad about it, just say a little prayer before going to bed tonight"
Me:"I don't believe in a god. And furthermore according to your religion I don't think animals have souls so they don't go to heaven anyway. So having a little pray would fall on deaf ears"
He had apparently never thought about that. Which I thought rather odd him being a practising catholic and what not. He must have had to learn the catechism by heart as a boy and wondered about animals if one of his pets died?

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful:

The Lord God made them all

*shudders visibly*

Because, being the heathen I have always been, I prefer this Monty Python version to the C.F. Alexander original:

All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat,
Al things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.

Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom,
He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid,
Who made the spiky urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did.

All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.


So I fetched the shovel, dug a hole, put my victim in it and covered it with dirt. So long little fellow. May all the insects you had been feeding on 'till I mowed you down have a feast on your little carcass. Ironic how nature works.

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