It’s not a pleasant subject to write about, but it’s been on my mind and I’m hoping to get something off my chest. For the past fifteen years I’ve been driving the same highway back and forth to work. It’s a twenty plus mile stretch, uneventful unless it’s wintertime and the hilly up’s and down’s can cause a problem. I just remembered that I am born on the day of up’s and down’s, so it’s only fitting that a few of those are stretched across my path. Strangely in all the years driving it, I never made the connection until now. Maybe I just never gave it much thought and the mind believes what it wants to believe, but that is not what I’m writing about tonight.
I have noticed an increase in roadkill lately and the road seems to be littered with poor little souls gone before their time. I call it that way since getting hit by a car is hardly a natural cause of dying. It’s an unwilling act delivered at the hands of someone else, in this case the tires of a steel monster. I find it hard to see their lifeless bodies on the road. The blood stains that make my heart drop every time that I encounter a rabbit, a deer and even the occasional dog, skunk or raccoon.
It has been my worst fear to hit an animal and I’m not sure why the toll and the claim of those poor lives lost has gone up. It’s hard to imagine that I never noticed it before so there has to be an increase in wildlife. Where they migrating in a different path then before and if so, why, what was the reason for it? Perhaps we were driving too fast, unable to stop and to avoid hitting the animal? Could it be that we are too rushed? Personally I leave early to allow extra time to get to my destination but you already know that about me. Maybe it was normal and nothing within our control, but to say the least, it was painful to see.
I have always enjoyed driving and considered myself a good defensive driver, but I have to admit that driving as of lately had become somewhat like an act of survival. People never seemed to have time anymore, always running late which made the freeway become a theme of survival for the fittest. I can’t recall how many times I might have ticked people off by only going five to ten miles over the speed limit. Like a irritating nuisance and at the first chance possible, the car that had been behind me so closely that I couldn’t even see their bumper, was finally rushing around me, only to cut me off in anger because I wasn’t going any faster. And believe me that growing up in Germany and on the Autobahn, I was anything else but a slow driver. And yet I did seek the opportunity to slow down whenever I could and breathe some quality into my life in general.
Two nights ago driving home from work, it happened. A rabbit was charging from the right side of the sagebrush, heading straight for the oncoming traffic, ME. Squealing brakes and a thud on the right tire or bumper, I’m not sure but I knew I had hit him. I never felt a bump. What I feared for so long and was grateful that I never had to experience before, happened and I hit a poor little soul. My heart immediately sank… I felt sick to my stomach and like a coward I couldn’t even stop to turn around and stare death in the eye. I had to do so a few times before and I was still traumatized and haunted from those images. I drove on and all I could hope for was that the poor little soul didn’t have to struggle. Besides the faint glimmer of hope that he was ok. Despite it happening so fast, I didn’t feel a bump and it restored a fraction of hope I so desperately needed. Of course I didn’t know for sure and I needed to go back and look. I couldn’t do so and I was afraid to add another traumatizing picture to my collection. Later that night, I struggled to sleep and I couldn’t find peace. My mind was still racing, contemplating all the scenarios and “what if’s” once again. Coming up with gruesome images of the struggling animal, I even went as far as to blame myself for not being able to finish him off. The fear of what I might find was too great and so I had let him suffer for the protection of my own soul.
Man I tell you, the mind can be a messed up thing and there is truth to it when we say that misery likes company. The ego is capable of creating a horror story like no other. Our own self inflicted suffering begins and the ego is no friend of ours, trust me. I have learned this awhile back and for the most part I have become aware, which by the way puts the ego in check. On that very night and in that very vulnerable moment, the ego found a way into my mind and it was having a blast torturing me. It took advantage of a weak moment…
By the way…the next morning I was afraid to drive by the very spot in which the incident of the “thud” had occurred. I was avoiding to look which is nearly impossible given that you keep your eyes on the road and pay attention not to run another poor little soul over. To my relief there was no dead animal carcass further driving guilt into my tired, nerve stricken soul and I choose to believe that the lucky little soul got away with a little scare that will keep him away from all cars in the future. ❤️
Safe travels everyone…