Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Animals

" really just another screen to deflect our attention away from the arduous yet delightful, joyous though painful process of allowing ourselves the stillness to remember what we feel and to begin assuming responsibility for our lives." --Derrick Jensen

Roadkill always makes me sad. All these lives taken for what? So we can ramble on down the road, recreate elsewhere, traversing the highway scars over the vast land, smack through the middle of someone else's home. All manner of forest creatures doing the same, rambling around and suddenly their goals, their destinations, their lives are no more.

On the way to Cape Breton a bird flew straight into our tires on a downward trajectory. Maybe it saw a mouse and, not knowing the creature's already doomed fate, went after it, joined it with a sickening thud.

We frowned at death. "That's the first time I ever did that - hit anything," she said.

I told her about the other time a bird flew into the side of my car. "We stopped and got out, walked toward it. It was just sitting there and we weren't sure it was dead. When we got close it flew away."

"Maybe this one did that too," she smiled hopelessly. We remembered the thud.

Roadkill is an understated tragedy of civilization. Another of our centuries long list of assaults on God and Gaia.


We were in an inflatable canvas canoe. Looking up into the tree at the end of the little island we saw an eagles' nest, 2.5 metres across. There were two jeuvenile eagles standing up on the edge of the nest.

What amazed me about those young eagles was that they just stood there, glancing around at the wide world, as we sat watching them.

They completely lacked ambition. They had no desire to work toward any dream. They felt no nagging guilt that they weren't labouring on the manuscript or the business plan. They didn't need to organize, tidy, or clean anything. They weren't dying to escape their one-horse town and see Paris or Bombay. They didn't even have a television to pass the hours until their parents returned. They just stood there, looking around, without anxiety or concern.

No one would judge them for their inaction; no one could hurt them.

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Just standing and looking around without an agenda those birds have got it just right.Roadkill leaves a sickening feeling in the pit of the stomach whenever we pass the mangled body of some beautiful creature lies at the side of the road.

A two-and-a-half metre nest.

I could lie down in that.

And then take off, and soar like an eagle, not tumble down like a turkey.
Which for the past few decades seems to have been the case.
iiih... i dont think i wanna know. Roadkill - yet another reason why i should drive.

Btw, regarding ur comment - what scandinavian capital where u thinking abt? I mentioned all three of em...?
first of all please forgive me for not commenting on your previous posts. I have been reading your blog. Unfortunately I didn't quite get your story and felt like a fool for not understanding it. I didn't know what to write. I didn't want to be dishonest. I should have just come right out and told you I didn't understand.

Roadkill always bothers me too. I remember reading somewhere that a good percentage of people actually TRY to hit animals, esp. snakes and reptiles. Some even go out of their way to do so. I remember the very first creature I had an unfortunate encounter with. I didn't hit it. It hit ME! It was a very large, very frumpy pigeon. As it flew into my windshield I saw a flash of brilliant blue. After hitting my car he disappeared. I couldn't find the fool bird anywhere. It did however leave a wide smear of gray on my windshield. Upon further inspection the gray had the appearance and consistency of ash, and as much as I lean on science, I can't help but wonder if the bird hit my car, turned to teal fire and left only ashes. I never saw it fly off. I never found it on the road. Spontaneous combustion almost seems plausible.

As for the eagles, good for them. They are better than most of us, because they don't give a damn about anything but living.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To prove to opossums and skunks that it could, in fact, be done.

Actually, civilization could be key to mankind's survival--that is if we don't blow ourselves up with it.

Of course, you realize that if the little eaglets grow up with ambitions, they might actually start working on their business plans. Perhaps, some of them will enter other professions as well. Soon, you'll have whole flocks of raptor attorneys: legal eagles, if you will.

And they might sue on behalf of the roadkill's estate for wrongful death.
It was when my feet and heart lost the desire to roam that I began to understand the beauty of home.

I have been rolled over by many things and there were none there to say "maybe he'll get up and fly away." Even though my skull was crushed and I leaked life all over the highways of my travail, I always was able to get up, move on until the next ill considered move that put me in the path of a speeding car. It is the way of humanity to crush, be crushed, regret and move on. Any other way is to be roadkill and I refuse to die.

Good thoughts here Ben
Kissa: me too, it really does.

Ivan: poor turkeys, they've had a rough go in recent centuries too. maybe it's time you build a giant nest.

CD: did you mention Helsinki? aren't there four: Helsinki, Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen.
NS: no fool are you. i appreciate your honesty. keep in mind that the story was actually the latest in a long series of a novella, which is maybe why it didn't make a lot of sense to you. on the other hand, it just mightn't have made sense.

XD: that would be amazing. I would cheer the eagles. i would elect them president. as for civilization, i see the key to our survival as coming up with a better way to live, moving, as Daniel Quinn put it, beyond civilization. if we don't manage to do that we're roadkill.

TWM: it's not humanity's way so much as our culture's way. for most of human history most of humanity has lived in ways that were not so destructive, not so domineering, not so fucked up. those ways worked, and in some places and cultures continue to work.
ah.. yeah .. the sick feeling of driving over something .. i hate it too..

most of all i hate driveway roadkill. each summer it seems we inevitably drive over a toad at night. i hate that. i love toads.. and i really try to watch out for them. but then there is the evidence of that flattened body in the morning.

.. i suppose later on those eagles will grow up to have the instinctual ambition of having to fill their bellies and the bellies of their young ..
mm, poor toads. I remember camping in Ghana once with my wife. In the evening there was an orchestra of toads, crickets, frogs, gods know what else, an outdoor concerto. It was awesome and all I could think to say was, "Baby, I don't think we're alone."
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