Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Ignorance We rose with the sun; I inhaled the crisp mountain air with the slight smell of coffee my grandpa started brewing. I slipped on my boots and stood up, stretching with a deep yawn, feeling the sun warm my body. I was well rested and I knew this would be a good day for a hike. Over coffee, we decided to take a long hike to the ridgeline and have lunch overlooking the valleys below. Round trip, our hike would take over half a day so we grabbed our packs and started to head out.

From our first step the hike had great promise. There were no other campers around us so we figured we would not run into anyone on the trail. We had been spotting wildlife in a great abundance. With our binoculars we would sight in on different birds and try to identify them. My grandpa knows a great deal on this subject and he was teaching me to identify various plants, trees and wildlife.

I was struggling because everywhere we looked we would see another different bird or plant so I was losing track trying to classify all of the different wildlife. As I looked to the trees in the direction of a chirping bird, I realized the sun was high above the ridges, so I suggested we stop for lunch. I spotted a large rock outcropping at the top of the ridge that looked like a great place to rest for lunch and enjoy the view.

We began our ascent to the rock and about halfway to our destination we both stopped because we heard a rustling in the sticks. I followed my grandpa as he started to walk in the direction of the disturbance. As we got closer to the noise, I saw a small deer nudging at another larger deer that was lying limp on the ground. We crept up and saw a doe lying on her side; the fawn was prodding at its mother in what appeared to be an attempt to raise her. The fawn then spotted us, and darted about thirty feet away and stopped, keeping a watchful eye on our movements. We made our way closer to the doe and realized she was not attempting to move. There was an arrow in her neck and two more in her stomach. Her body was not yet stiff. Her eyes seemed to be staring at us, longing for the answer as to why she had been so maliciously killed. I looked over and spotted the fawn creeping towards us, shaking with its head low, trying to make its way to its mother. When we got back far enough, the fawn laid down next to its mother, waiting for her to rise. I realized there was nothing we could do to help these innocent animals. Surely, that fawn would die as it was too young to be without a mother. My grandpa and I decided it was time to leave them be. We began walking back towards camp with a great disgust over what we had just seen.

On the trip back to camp my eyes were full of the image of that fawn trying to awaken its mother, not knowing if it would soon share the same fate of death. On the way back, I did not feel the energy and life of nature, all I could feel was the painful silence of the now silent birds. There were no colorful plants to bring the beauty of nature to my senses. My mind was trying to find reasoning for the actions of that ignorant person. After my trip was over, my attitude towards nature and mans' effect on it had changed forever. I was greatly ashamed at the brutality and thoughtfulness of man. I kept asking myself how one ignorant person could destroy a bond so strong. The union of nature is far stronger than the morals of man will ever be. That day I lost a great deal of respect for man and gained a lot for nature.