Cardinal Sin

It lay in the street like a puddle of blood. A soft liquid, downy, not right, I approached this small death with tentative steps. The blood shifted as if to pour away.

Startled, I recoiled.

Though detested by this fear of something so small, this unexpected disturbance, I regathered. My breaths steadied to a pulsing fog in the cold winter morning.

The scarlet pool appeared unbothered, too, resettling like an agitated baby rocked to sleep.

If the frost was finer, the dawn warmer, the effect would’ve lessened, but red on white like a Crusader’s bold announcement of the purging victory to come, gleamed. How dare it! How dare it ruin my morning?

I made to walk around the thing but life intervened. A city fox so alive as to dismiss extinction ran out of a hawthorn bush. The creature lowered its head as if to lap at the pool.

It was wrong, this I knew. Nothing could’ve turned my stomach more.

So what did I do this disenchanted morning when one of God’s creatures required my aid? What did I do when the devil in a fox fur coat came to finish what nature had started?

I let it.


There are many kinds of sin but none so great as indifference. One might say it the cardinal sin, yet we bask in its crimson illumination gladly.

11 thoughts on “Cardinal Sin

  1. Aside from the fact that you write with sheer eloquence, divine eloquence Richard (it flowed so beautifully … your descriptive fluency and literary talent never ceases to leave me in awe) … this made me very sad. 😦 I’m a modern-day Noah, a protector, one who advocates and who cares for, looks over and feeds the un-human who may be suffering, are in need of some kind … in any and all ways I might be capable of. I pray over water birds who have broken their leg, I cry when I see an insect who has come to the end of its journey, I weep when an owl or hawk swoop down to feed on a newborn baby still crying in its nest … and I pull my car over when driving past continued bulldozing of trees, of land, feeling the fear, chaos, suffering and pain of those who live within it. I know that nature will do what nature is, yet I cry. 😦

  2. Wow, yes this is so true. I saw something like this and I took a shovel and moved it out of the street. I went back later and it was gone. I like to think it came to and flew off! I hope​ you are doing well my friend! 🙂

  3. Indifference becomes your nature when your heart has turned to stone. Nothing makes you mourn or turn. You let things take their course, distancing from what can be stopped because your feelings are dead.

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