Must be the heat II
Little more than a year ago, I wrote, Must be the heat in which I expressed my shock and dismay at all the little furry (and feathery) creatures in the area appearing to commit suicide. (You can read it here - https://theprose.com/post/282706/must-be-the-heat.) Well, I am unhappy to report that evidence of my hypothesis is piling up (no pun intended): As summer heats up, animals are attempting suicide left and right, yet again.
As I noted in my earlier report, I am not talking about the confused creatures who are too impatient to sit and wait until there are no vehicles coming, or who are oblivious because they are chasing a friend or foe, or who cannot judge the velocity of an oncoming car and so scamper across, thinking they have all the time of the world. Nor do I mean the dare-devil birds trying to prove they can fly faster than we can drive.
I am talking about the heart sick – or heat sick – critter who, rather than swiftly fleeing to the safety of the side of the road – a garden, the forest, the sidewalk for goodness sake – instead, moseys to the center of the road and sits there. Or who deliberately waits at the side of the road until a car is coming and then, when death seems to be the only possible outcome, takes off.
Like the goose sitting in the middle of the street Saturday morning. All the other geese were sunning by the side of the lake. Was he ostracized? Unloved? Did he lose a battle for dominance? Something must have happened. Not only was he not waddling. He wasn’t moving. He just sat there, daring the cars. When one car looked to take the dare, my husband ran into the street. He was scarier than a moving car, I guess. The goose flew-waddled to the other side. (The car didn’t hit my crazy husband either.)
Or the robin that was sitting sadly on the side of the road until he saw a car coming, then, when the car was within five feet, decided to fly in front of it. I closed my eyes and screamed. I didn’t look back. My husband said the car missed it by inches. That was possibly a case of the bird playing chicken, but he had such a despondent air as he sat there waiting for traffic. (And now I am wondering if it was the same bird that crashed into the front window of my house a few days later. He left a mess, but apparently was not successful in that attempt either.)
Then there were the possums. Now, I have not seen a live possum in more than a dozen years. I have now seen two dead ones within a day of each other on the same stretch of road. I think maybe the first one was an accident. The second one was heartsick. I mean, you see a dead comrade, you think, hey, this is a dangerous place, I should go back, not, hey, I think I’ll cross here, too. No, definitely a suicide.
The saddest, by far, was the baby woodchuck. I mean, so young to feel so hopeless. My guess is he had lost his parents – woodchucks are the worst when it comes to safely crossing the street – and decided to follow in their footsteps. Literally. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful, at least as I stood there screaming, NOOOOOO, Don’t gooooooooo! The car he was aiming for screeched to a halt – not sure if it was because of the adorable fur ball rolling across the street or the lunatic woman screaming at the side of the road, but no matter, no suicide on my watch.
So, beware and take care: Slow down on the roads and watch out for woebegone wildlife!