This morning, a black and white cat crossed my path. It flashed across four lanes of traffic barely avoiding my front tires and then disappeared into somebody's backyard. It was close enough that I was trembling a little at the next light so relieved not to have witnessed its injury, let alone caused it myself.
I thought of the time I once saw a friend take a rock and crush the skull of a mortally-injured mouse that her cat had grown bored of and abandoned in the driveway. Certainly, I had seen death with my own eyes, and many have died on my behalf and even at my demand, but I questioned then whether I personally could commit such a violent act of mercy, and I wondered the same thing today.