We set up our shooting stand atop the massive rock formation in the center of our favorite meadow. I had always imagined the long, flat rock to be a sacrificial alter placed at the center of the grassy meadow by an ancient tribe of deadly warriors. Thousands of years before Mark and I showed up it had been bathed in the blood of captured enemies, ugly women, and small children.
We loaded our guns and began to shoot at anything that chirped, tweeted, or flew. Our first several shots were disappointing, but we soon dialed in our sights and our nerves. Before long we were hitting just about everything we aimed at. The rifles worked best, but we used the pistols for celebratory shots directed skyward. In between volleys and reloads we would sip soda, munch snacks, and wait for the birds spooked by our gunfire to return.
We were patient. The ammo lasted for hours.
Long after the cracks of our final shots faded, Mark and I sat and listened for sounds of life in the meadow. We heard nothing but grasshoppers twitching in the grass. Bloodlust coursing through our veins, we walked out into the grass and inspected some of our kills.
I have shot many guns since that day, but not one of them has been aimed at a bird.
Don't ask me about chipmunks, rats, or squirrels.