Sunday, December 5, 2010

Carnage on the Roads

Click to enlarge
These are likely coyote tracks, which crisscross the ditches all along my afternoon walk.

The other night on my way home from town, a raccoon ran out from the ditch and dashed in front of the truck. I had no time to slow down before I saw it come out safely beyond the driver's side, but then it turned and ran right back and I heard the tire go over it. "Oh no, luvvie...." I groaned, but what could I do? I should stop and make sure it was dead, but how? I had nothing to beat it to death with (and honestly I don't know if I could make myself do it, especially if it requires more than one blow) and I know from experience that driving over the animal again does not necessarily kill it either (been there, tried that, as a young woman; still chagrins me to think of it). If it was wounded, I wouldn't be able to touch or move it; raccoons are dangerous. So ... I damn near cried, but not quite, and drove on home feeling knife-twisting regret. The next day Everett chauffeured me down there to have a look, but we didn't see anything along the road or nearby. I can hope that the tire only ran over the raccoon's foot and it limped away and is living happily ever after with just a little bruising.

And here's the worrisome thing: I was driving less than 60 kilometres per hour when the animal ran out. That's how fast it happens; you can't slow down quickly enough for them to get across, but on the rare occasion that you do -- well, I have been in a convoy of vehicles driving down the highway at THREE kilometers per hour with a small herd of deer on the road next to them, and one deer's hoof slipped and its leg went under the tire of the truck ahead of me and the deer bounced off and away into the bush with its broken leg dangling.

It is carnage out there, and not only for the animals. People are killed every year when their vehicles collide with wildlife like moose and deer.

***

Lazy morning. It’s not as if all my mornings aren’t “lazy” ones if I choose, but on Sundays I take time to read, and don't feel pressured to get work done first. Everett sometimes comes and sits in the chair behind me and we find things to laugh about. He pointed at the blog header and pronounced scornfully that "it's a bird, it's a plane" is a boring clichĂ© and how lame am I, etc., to which I replied Yeah, so? (That is precisely why I used it, but I didn't bother explaining; he wouldn't get it. I chuckled at my teenager's contempt for my self-embraced uncoolness and then appreciatively altered the header as per his superior suggestion.)

*** 

Cameron phoned last night; he was relaxing at home in St Albert. We should be calling each other more often, I know; it’s important to keep in touch. Mom worried about him living alone and not feeling enough part of the family. She advised her daughters to make a point of greasing the communication lines. I think she advised Dad, too, as he has stirred himself to phone all his kids on a regular basis and to maintain his and Mom's social network among friends and other relatives since she died. He may not have felt like dialing our numbers sometimes, but he made himself do what he "ought," much as Dad has always done, now that I think about it. 

I'm glad he phones, as I think about doing it a lot more often than actually doing it. He's set a good example. Go, Dad!

Sounds like my brother the trucker (that brothertrucker) will try to get a load out this way around Xmastime, since Dad and Grace are in Palm Springs and Joan and her hubby and kids are spending Xmas up at the ski lodge. My boys are staying home this year and I won't go far either, except to see my good friend Mz Bell, who will be in Regina over the holiday week. Actually I could have a real friend fest if I get off my duff and drive those two hours; I hear my high school partner-in-crime Kim will be in the city at the same time and there is another old friend who lives there, with whom ties of friendship have only recently been renewed after decades without contact.  



5 comments:

  1. I hit a deer at dusk a few years ago on the Niagara Parkway. It came out of nowhere and it's hoof shattered my windshield. I didn't realize immediately what had happened. When I did I turned around and returned to the scene. The deer was gone. This was fortunate because, like you, I wouldn't really want to get into an encounter with a wounded animal although I do know CPR :-)

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  2. Horrible encounter, but a lazy morning is a healing step. As for the phone calls, although I made my living for 7 years as customer representative for Bell, I am not good on the phone. People would much rather get an e-mail from me than a phone call, but I do think it's a blessing to be able to keep up with family, however the method. And kudos to your dad.

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  3. Aw, poor critter. But I don't think I could beat a raccoon to death either. In fact, I'm quite sure I couldn't. :(

    Keeping in touch with family... although it's hard to believe some times, yes, very important.

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  4. Very unsettling when an animal does that. Can't bear the thought of ever killing something or, worse, hurting an animal and have it disappear into the woods in terrible pain and perhaps die slowly of blood loss or malnutrition. Luckily it's never happened to me. I've no idea what I would do if it did.

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  5. I'm so sorry you had that encounter with the raccoon. It is similar here...there are small and large animals killed or maimed here all the time.

    I don't think I could kill an animal either. I was driving along one afternoon, when a deer jumped out in front of an oncoming car. The deer's leg was torn off and the driver of the other car was more concerned about the damage than the deer who was flopping around on the road. I cried as I watched, not knowing what to do. Luckily, another car came along and threw a blanket over the deer as it finally died.

    I now carry a blanket just for that purpose in my car, on the advice of long time residents here in the Cariboo district of BC.

    Sounds like a wonderful Christmas coming up for you, dear Kate!!

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