Rest in peace, Billy – our loved and beloved bovine friend and neighbor and another innocent victim of our plastic addiction.
His belly was full of plastic.
Tomorrow’s Shap Long Cleanup will be in his memory.
It seems fitting, given the amount of rubbish blown in to the field by Mangkhut, the storm that also took away our favorite trees providing shelter on Pui O Beach.
Famously naughty and generally harmless, he will be missed by many, but at least he is no longer suffering.
We will wait to hear from the AFCD who have agreed to run tests.
Our poor boy’s four stomachs were so packed with plastic that his belly was round like a barrel while the rest of his body was skeletal. It was hard to see him in that condition – starving, no matter how much he ate. Humans kept feeding him bread, so he foraged in the bins and ate bread bags and all sorts of rubbish.
While the buffalo tolerated his presence in the herd, he was generally on his own in the ‘hood.
I know not everyone will miss you but I will really miss scratching your stinky head and always saying hello and walking behind you as you took your time on the wetlands path and dodging your growing horns while taking care of you when you were being naughty on the beach.
Various friends and his primary caretaker, volunteer Jean, burned incense, blew the requiem of the shakuhach and lit a twig fire as we waited for the government officials to remove his remains from the sheltered spot on the Pui O wetland where he left his body.
Humans really suck, sometimes.
We really do.
UPDATE 11/26: The AFCD confirmed in long overdue tests that our beloved Billy died from obstruction with two of his four stomachs full of plastic. He developed a taste for the human food fed him by visitors to the beach and he foraged in the bins for his favorite treats. But he was unable to separate what tasted yummy from the plastic packaging he ate along with everything else.
We can do better than this.
PS – Please think of Billy the next time you buy a new pair of shoes …
I heard his pain
I felt his fear
Gasps for breath
I slowed as I neared
He was so very close
Close enough to touch
And yet so far from me
I ached to reach out
Alone in the dark silence
Too close to be safe
Nothing to do
I hear his pain
I hear his struggle
I hear my heart
I trust my heart
He was dying
He was being killed
He was dying in front of me
Right there in front of me
These were his final breaths
These were his final sounds
He was underneath
They were crushing him
Crushing the life out of him
Pain creating more pain
I looked down at them
They looked up at me
I walked away
I did not look back
I did not close my eyes
I sent love
Four lives lost
One to murder
Three to anger
I am sending love
This is not my story
This is their story
I am a witness
In a world where our words matter more every day, some of the most powerful ever shared have crossed boundaries and cultures and languages for centuries and will last for millenia.
1 Corinthians – Chapter 13
1 Though I command languages both human and angelic — if I speak without love, I am no more than a gong booming or a cymbal clashing.
2 And though I have the power of prophecy, to penetrate all mysteries and knowledge, and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains — if I am without love, I am nothing.
3 Though I should give away to the poor all that I possess, and even give up my body to be burned — if I am without love, it will do me no good whatever.
4 Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited,
5 it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances.
6 Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth.
7 It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes.
8 Love never comes to an end. But if there are prophecies, they will be done away with; if tongues, they will fall silent; and if knowledge, it will be done away with.
9 For we know only imperfectly, and we prophesy imperfectly;
10 but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with.
11 When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways.
12 Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known.
13 As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.
NOTE: The word ἀγάπη agape, used throughout in the original Greek, is translated into English as “charity” in the King James version; but the word “love” is preferred by modern translations.
We arrived and I was dropped off with the food and the gear while the crew headed off to scout for rare pink dolphins in the area. While the two junks met up with Amberjack to watch the two dolphins just off shore, I prepared the coals for the feast and enjoyed some alone time on the edge of nowhere.
This crew amazed me with their attitude, dedication and willingness to go the extra mile.
This is one of those times when pictures tell the whole story.
Our future is in good hands.