Thursday, November 12, 2009

Road Kill

Today as I was going for a stroll with Evan I came upon a peculiar if not touching scene. At first it looked like just another dead squirrel lying on the curb, maybe a casualty of an automobile encounter-road kill. But something caught my eye. The animal was clearly placed there by someone who had carefully laid the creature in the grass and had sprinkled a few bright pink flower pedals by it's head. Who would do such a thing? I mean who would touch a dead squirrel? But it was, well humor me, moving. Passing by dead animals on our walks or in our cars is an almost daily occurrence. We may see a baby bird crushed on the sidewalk, broken wings and neck, such a fragile tiny creature, and we pass by. Or a deer on the side of the highway, once graceful and sleek, now lying open eyed, rotting on pavement. We speed by. What is one to do really? Bring a sack of flowers and plastic gloves along on every outing just in case we happen upon death?

But still, how little regard it shows for life to simply look the other way. I will be honest. Death creeps me out. I have really never touched a dead anything before. I stood helpless after I watched my neighbors fluffy white dog get hit by a car. I couldn't move it's crushed body to the side of the road, I had a passing mail carrier do it. I was so thankful that he rescued me from the task. He picked up the lifeless body and moved him over to the curb. He maneuvered one of the dog's floppy ears over his open eyes.

When I saw that squirrel with the flowers around it's little head I felt gratitude to the person who gave the rodent a bit of dignity in death, who showed some feeling for a fallen fellow living being. I highly doubt I will follow in this stranger's footsteps, but I would like to meet him, and shake his (gloved) hand.

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