My mother was an unprepossessing sort of person who had lived an ordinary life in the backwater of an industrial town. She’d never had money, power, fame, or any sort of exalted status, and yet the man showed respect for a life now run, however small and ordinary it had been. It brought a lump to my throat then, and its still brings a lump to my throat eighteen years later.
I feel inclined to bow every time I see a dead bird on the path or a dead squirrel on the road. There’s something intensely poignant about a body with the life force extinguished, and I suppose the bow is a way of saying ‘Thank you for sharing the world with me. Without you and all the other small and ordinary lives, the world would be desolate place indeed, and my own life relatively worthless.’