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Road kill

Roadkill really bothers me, especially when it’s a squirrel like the one I just saw. I like squirrels. They’re cute and playful and fun to watch. Yes, they also get into my birdseed and bury nuts in my flowerbeds, but I forgive them their natural instincts. Lying in the road injured and half dead as unsympathetic cars hurry by is an apt metaphor for the often hectic pace of modern life. We are overtaxed and overburdened, so we needfully filter out some “unessentials.” Of course, the list of what is unessential continues to grow. While I don’t expect motorists to stop their cars and nurse an injured squirrel, I wonder how many of them at least felt some sympathy for its plight?

I saw a scene on The Waltons a few weeks back wherein Elizabeth finds a bird that has fallen from its nest and goes to the trouble of putting it back (apparently, it’s not true that the parents will reject it – unless it is injured.

Nature is often practical if not cruel). Were Elizabeth living in today’s world, she would likely be too busy texting as she scurried along Walton’s Mountain, oblivious to her surroundings and the stupid bird. I know, times have changed and I’m starting to sound my age, but I do often wish life were simpler. As much as I love some aspects of modern technology (I’m sitting outside – in nature – typing this on my laptop), there has to be some balance (for me, this is partially accomplished by not subscribing to cable or broadcast television. Excess hours I’d be tempted to lazily squander on silly reality shows are spent reading instead).

Many things in nature are short-lived (except trees), at least from a human perspective. But time is a human illusion, and perhaps nature is not as cruel and careless as it can sometimes seem. Nature does continually renew itself, and many more squirrels will come along to replace my dead friend (we could say this of humans, too, of course). But it reminds me of the story about a boy and his father walking along the beach amongst hundreds of stranded starfish that had washed ashore. As the boy picked one up to toss it back in the water, the father laughed and told him he couldn’t possibly put a dent in the situation and make much of a difference. The boy, pointing to his starfish, said “It makes a difference to this one.”

Make a difference.

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