Moving to the lake shore has added much to my daily life. Including a 45 minute drive, each way, to my job. Eventually, I hope to use this time to listen to books and podcasts. For now, I listen to a few different CD’s and just enjoy the solitude. One thing, about the drive, brings sadness to my thoughts. Both sides of the highway are littered with the bodies of dead animals.
I am the type of person who silently says “I’m sorry” to the little creatures that are killed by humans. And, the sadness that I feel lingers throughout the day. They are so innocent. All of them are trying to live their lives and do what they need to do. Then, out of nowhere, they are struck and killed by a vehicle.
Often, I picture the landside as it might have appeared before we raped it. When Native Americans lived here. The peace and harmony across the forested land down to the beaches must have been amazing. Life cycles of the animals were more natural. Everything in balance for the most part.
I am guilty of anthropomorphizing these creatures. I think about the family, or significant other, they left behind and how it will feel. Believe me, I know how silly this sounds, but it’s just something I do. I’ve learned to accept my oddness.
Not too long ago I saw a small body laying on the shoulder of the highway. As I drew closer, I could see the white spots across it’s red brown fur. So small. A fawn had been killed while it tried to cross the road. I was mad!
Why had it’s mom led it there? Miles and miles of trees stretched from the side of the road where I saw the dead baby deer. Couldn’t they have just stayed there? Safe?? Hasn’t traffic become a natural thing to be feared . . . like a predator?
The anger shifted to complete heartbreak when I thought of the momma deer standing by as her child was mowed down in front of her. Did she see it happen or was the little one behind her? Would she have kept running or turn back to see if her baby was ok? If she did turn to look, would she have gone back to see if her little one was still alive? And, if it was still alive would she stay by it . . . trying to make it stand up . . . until it had died? After it died, would the momma deer lay by its side, wailing? How long would it take her to leave her baby?
In the days following, when it was time to go back, would she choose to cross where her fawn had died? To check and recheck if the baby was alive? Or, instead, would she traverse the highway as far from her little one as she could? So she wouldn’t have to see it again? How long would the lost life of her baby stay in her mind? A day? Until the next season when she birthed an other?
I don’t know the answers but it breaks my heart.
Never do I want anyone else to feel the pain of child loss. Even the handful (ok, maybe two handfuls) of people I dislike. To wish this on anyone has to be one of the cruelest thoughts I could have.
As I passed the dead fawn, scanning the line of trees for its momma, I couldn’t help but cry. I cried for the little baby on the side of the road who never got a chance to lose its dappled spots that would help it stay hidden in the tall grasses. I cried for the momma, who in my mind, had spent hours trying to figure out how to get her baby off the hot cement. My tears fell for Stacey, who was driving about ten minutes ahead of me, because I knew she saw it and would be thinking the same thing I was. My sadness was for the far too many mothers I knew who had endured the loss of their own child. And, for the moms who don’t realize this loss is in their future.
I cried because life should be more consistent. All babies should grow into adulthood. All of our children, whatever the age, deserved to grow into the fullness of the days ahead of them. No momma should ever have to figure out how to face another day with this tremendous burden of loss.
I cried because, some days, there is nothing else we can do.
We birth our children (or choose our children) with hope and faith in our hearts. Committing our lives to their care and well being. Giving all of ourselves to keep them safe. Willing to give our life to bring them back. But, alas, this can not be.
As I drive the roads, each day, I silently mourn the passing of all the furry creatures that share the world with us. I mourn the loss of my own child. Life, unfortunately, is full of death. Thankfully, not everyone has such an intimate relationship with this spector.
Love your babies. Life has a way of changing your plans without your consent. In the blink of an eye, an entire future can be wiped away and a painful one set on your path.
Love each other and care for those around you. Both the human and non human.
Just do your best.