The two-mile stretch of country road that I travel everyday from the gate of our housing community to the interstate highway is a winding, hilly, and scenic route. It is here where I pass by corn and soybean fields, cattle farms, horse ranches, creeks and ponds, prairies and patches of wooded areas.
It is also in this lonely road that creatures other than human, cross and pass by, especially at night. No, I’m not talking about ghost and ghouls. I am talking about animal creatures. Unfortunately to say, it is also in this road that I frequently see dead creatures. No, not zombies! (I don’t believe in those.) I mean roadkill – animals killed by passing motor vehicles.
Maybe it is because the road is winding and there is a lot of blind turns. Or perhaps it is because the road has no street lamps and is very dark at night. Or maybe the drivers are speeding in this stretch of road, as they know there is usually no police cars patrolling this area. Or perhaps the drivers are looking at the scenic surroundings that they are not paying attention to the road. Or maybe the animals are jaywalking and not obeying the traffic rules. Whatever the reason is, there are frequent hit and run animal victims here.
I have seen dead deers, squirrels, chipmunks, possums, raccoons, badgers, skunks, rabbits, and fox on this road. At least I have not yet encountered a stray cow on the road, though I have seen horses, but with a rider, trotting at the shoulder of the road. I have even seen a snapping turtle cross this road, but it made it to the other side alive. Makes you wonder why the slow turtle crossed safely while the faster rabbits and deers did not. Of course I know there are hundreds of animals that crossed without accident, we just don’t see them. All we have evidence of are the mishaps.
I have been involved in a few close call and near misses with crossing deers on this road. Maybe I was slightly above the speed limit, but definitely the deers were not crossing in the designated pedestrian lane. Oh I forgot, there is no designated deer pedestrian crossing lane. And if there is, it would be ignored anyway. I mean, ignored by human drivers, for the deers may dutifully use it!
One morning, a few days ago, as I was driving that road going to work, there was again a roadkill. I think it was a raccoon. Another unfortunate being who met their tragic demise because man invented the wheel. On top of the dead body was a creature garb in black. No, it was not the grim reaper. And no, it was not mourning over the dead. In fact, it was feasting on the tragedy of the other. It was a vulture.
As I was approaching, the vulture would not fly away and leave the carcass, instead it stubbornly held its ground despite of my speeding car, that I had to swerve to avoid hitting it. Maybe it was really hungry. Or maybe it was too greedy. Or maybe it was too foolish. Or it was too foolishly greedy. It should be thankful I did not run him over.
That afternoon, as I was returning home, I noticed that in addition to the raccoon’s carcass in that road, there was also a pile of black feathers beside it. I surmised what happened. The one feasting on the roadkill, also became a roadkill. What a terrible tale!
People sometimes are like vultures, taking advantage and exploiting others’ misfortune. Let’s be wary or we will meet the same tragic fate.
(* image from here)