Just as I am done with the bathroom and about to flush – you know what – down the toilet using a bucket of water, I see life.
It’s a tiny winged thing, a baby mosquito, maybe one just entering its teen years on the mosquito lifetime scale. In the cold water bucket, in this cold December night in my room’s bathroom, the little thing’s life has suddenly been thrown by chance to my will. I can kill it by flushing it down the toilet with this cold water. Or maybe… I can let it live.
I know this little fellow, who’s already probably scared of being thrown in cold water when it’s hiding in the bathroom to stay alive in this winter, is no use to me, not at least something I can imagine. But its life is now entirely left to my discretion. What do I do?
I take a tissue paper and gently fish the baby out of water. It clings to the paper at once as a drowning man would to a life vest. I put the paper on the small mirror shelf. The rescued little creature walks off the paper. I return to my room, thinking about what I did, and have done before to other small creatures.
Yes, maybe this baby will never know or remember what happened on this cold night. Maybe it’ll grow up into a healthy adult fellow, probably even biting me and getting away with it. Chances are this universe will not change its course of action or operation with this act of mine.
But this one action will live in the history of this universe, in form of a life saved—a life spared. Long after this baby has his life and is gone, after I am gone, and generations gone, and the world a much changed place perhaps, on the timeline of this universe, one more life saved will remain a fact. Or maybe a fairy tale.