Driving toward helping take care of our friends

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 5/29/20

I have a high regard for life — the living, breathing, moving kind.

Doesn’t matter if it’s plant, animal or human, most of the time I’m into “live and let live.”

Now that doesn’t …

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Driving toward helping take care of our friends

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Posted

I have a high regard for life — the living, breathing, moving kind.

Doesn’t matter if it’s plant, animal or human, most of the time I’m into “live and let live.”

Now that doesn’t mean I cultivate poison ivy or am against drawing a bead on a coyote with my rifle, especially if he’s hanging out around some baby calves. I’m also not adverse to doing away with the yellow jacket that just stung me. And if a fly gets into my soup he’s not going to stay there long. But it does mean that I sort of live in a place that says, “I didn’t create or give life so as a normal mode of operation I’m not going to do away with it just because I can.”

But lest my vegan, non-meat, non-egg or milk or other dairy product-eating friends raise their eyebrows, I’m also not talking about the New York strip I like to see on my plate once in a while. I’m talking about the random wanton destruction of life that conveys, I think, an attitude of “I-don’t-care.”

One of the places where we see that is on the highways and byways of our world, especially for those of us who avoid the concrete sidewalks of urban life.

Obviously sometimes it can’t be helped, this taking of wildlife life. Bambi and her friends lead the list or are right there at the top. I’m not sure where deer fall in the animal kingdom ranking of bright beings but if I had to say, I’d say not at the top. If they did they wouldn’t try to cross the road in front of a semi hauling a load of hogs.

One year my better half and I got five of the white-tailed fleet-footed creatures — including the one that saw us, turned back away toward the woods from which she came, and then did an about-face and broad-sided us. Maybe she was having a bad day or maybe she saw and remembered when we got one of the other four...I don’t know, but I do know it was not a good decision on her part.

In addition to the deer, Mr. Squirrel is also on the list of roadway endangered species. If you’ve ever driven up behind one of the furry little rodents lolly-gagging in the middle of the road you see them — as soon as they see you — run here and there, take a couple of steps to the left, then zig right before trying to outrun you or bolting off to the other side.

Most of them make it, though not all but, hey, Mr. Buzzard also has to eat.

The bottom line, I think, is this: people and animals share much of the same territory. Most of the time, we’re bigger than they are so it pays to pay attention. Don’t have a wreck trying to avoid Mr. Possum and it’s not a good idea to get out of your vehicle to move something.

I’ve hit my share of animals through 50-plus years of driving and still remember how sick it made me when years ago I couldn’t avoid a dog that appeared from a grassy shoulder and tried to outrun me before I could slow down to miss him.

But — and here’s the big but — it’s not cool to go out of your way to smush something. On a nearby paved road the other day, I saw a perfect example of that random wanton destruction of life. Mr. Turtle did not make it on his journey from one side to the other. I’ve always heard those folks cross the road on their travels looking for water. Unfortunately for them it can take awhile to complete the task and they either need a better travel agent or to ask the chicken how to cross the road.

The thing that struck me as I motored on was that Mr. Turtle met his end not on the edge of the pavement or near the center line where the left wheels would ride. Instead he was lying there in bits and pieces dead (no pun intended) in the middle of the travel lane. I’m pretty sure unless the offending driver was skimming along in something only two inches above ground that he could have spared Mr. Turtle over to another day.

That was especially noticeable and galling to me because earlier in my travels on that same road, while going in the opposite direction, I had observed Mr. Turtle in the middle of a lane just sort of hanging out apparently enjoying life as a turtle.

So why do it? Don’t know... Maybe a sense of power and control, maybe because the driver is a jerk. I do know it’s not a nice thing to do.

As you come and go on the highways and byways, drive safely; make sure you get home.

And do your best to make sure the critters get home to their families, as well.

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