Well, you can sure tell summer’s coming. Why? Simple: dead bodies everywhere!! Raccoons, possums, woodchucks, birds, squirrels, even kitties and doggies. The warm weather has lots of critters in mating mode, and they are moving about like they own the place or something. Well, ok, they do own the place. Or at least they used to...
To show our appreciation for all of the Creator’s flora and fauna, humans have chopped up their habitat and shot roads through the parcels. Then to add to their excitement, we drive through these zoomophone lanes with big metal honkers at 70 mph or more. Most animals aren’t quite equipped to get across the road when a four wheeled zipmobile is coming at them out of nowhere. So, we see lots of babies “sleeping” on various parts of the road. Makes me sad for them… I try hard to slow down when I see animals near the roadway. Sure, I have been guilty of assassinating some of those poor babies with my own four wheeled killing machine. When I’ve been unfortunate enough to kill one of Mother Nature’s babies I have an immediate reaction: being the big, strong man that I am, I cry like a baby and ask the Great Spirit for forgiveness.
Ok, so now it’s out. I’m a big wuss. I’m the idiot who stops on the expressway because I see a turtle trying to make its way across. I turn on my flashers, pull off to the side, and dodge cars to whisk the little booger off the road and out of harm’s way. Then I carry it about 50 yards from the road and stomp my feet until it lumbers off in the opposite direction of the traffic lanes. My furry and feathered friends get the horn. Most animals will run from the horn if you use it in time. By “in time,” I mean at least 50 feet before you get to the animal. Otherwise, if you honk when you’re right next to them, they’ll often freak out and run erratically. Then you end up hitting them anyhow. I’ll also pump my brakes if there are any cars behind me, hoping that other motorists will follow my lead and give the critter the right of way.
On the other hand, you have dead bugs. Sometimes literally on the “other hand”… there’s nothing more rewarding than sticking your mitt out the car window on a warm day and having a bug go kersplat in your hand while you’re playing airplane. Oh and by the way, no, I don’t swerve to avoid bugs. Especially not on the expressway… I may be crazy but I ain’t no fool. If I have time (which means at lower speeds), I try to miss beneficial insects. You know, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, and of course wasps. But even now, with the weather still fairly cool, you can tell that my windshield has already sent quite a few insects to Bug Heaven. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big wussy boy, and I get sad when I see beneficial insects bite the dust because of my Toyota Sienna Racing Van.
But hey, humans are critters too, and the Great Spirit built us just like all the other critters. So, rather than try to dodge insects on the freeway and put the lives of other drivers in danger, I take small comfort in the fact that I may be feeding some birds with my car. At least indirectly. You see, one of the miracles of Creation is that living things adapt, sometimes in strange ways. Believe it or don’t, there are birds who have actually learned how to pick up insect road kill for a quick meal. I first noticed starlings doing this several years ago. Red winged blackbirds, who travel with starlings during migration, have also learned this trick. And they must be sharp cookies, because I have yet to see a squished starling or blackbird on the road.
I guess all is not completely lost when mammals, birds, and even turtles are executed by cars. This much I’ve learned through the existence of things like “The Road Kill Cookbook,” which is a humorous rendition about an actual activity in the more rural areas of the country. Yes, there really are people who eat road kill. And why not? We have farmers raise hordes of animals every year and they are killed for our consumption. Can’t get much better at recycling than eating road kill. Not that I’m eager to do it mind you. But if it’s freshly killed, a road kill turkey, for example, would be lots healthier food than one you buy from the store. No artificial anything.
I’ll stick to the store-bought animal flesh, thank you very much. I was a hunter years ago, and am not really interested in cleaning any more dead critters. I’ll just try to be wary and keep my roadkill count to a minimum.
Speaking of roadkill, this week’s cartoon has absolutely nothing to do with it. But it’s fun…