Roadside and Paying Attention

I stopped on the side of the road today and pulled out a plastic Ziploc bag, one gallon, filled with roughly five squares of paper towels. My bike was laid down on the side because it was a brand that came without a kickstand and I didn’t see the point in spending the money. I keep my sunglasses and helmet on so that anyone going by will not have any idea who I am. The road isn’t busy generally but sometimes a wave of cars will hit. It was clear when I laid down my bike but now, of course, there is a caravan of cars coming from either direction. I bend down, carefully to keep my feet on the black pavement, away from the earth border. For there, about three inches from my toes and about three inches beneath my hands is a mostly decayed animal about the size of a cat. The bones are white and perfect except for the skull which seems to have been crushed and is still covered in skin. There are a few bugs crawling around on it, lunching away, but I ignore them and begin scooping up vertebrate, femurs, ulnas, and ribs into the plastic baggy with the aid of the paper towels. There was one paw still mostly intact and that was my prized pick and the last thing I picked up before I sealed the bag. I left some ribs and a few other small bones or whatever ones were actually broken. I was able to get one half of the lower jaw and a bit of the other half that bears a rather large canine tooth. The tail was gone but for the extended vertebrae that I snatched up so I was not able to tell if it was raccoon but it seemed to be about that size. I passed a recently hit raccoon once I got back on my bike to ride home and it looked to be about the same size. I didn’t really assess the damage to the animal so I really couldn’t say what killed it. Obviously it was hit and pushed to the side of the road but the bones seemed free from damage as far as a quick once-over could account for. The head was hard to judge though so perhaps it was a tire to the cranium. I collected the bones because they looked interesting and it was almost an entire medium-sized wild creature and not just the usually fish or bird bones I would see on hikes. But mainly I stopped to get them for my artist sister who likes to use nature in her artwork, especially bones. I admit a strange fascination with them now too after studying them for a third of my last college semester. The bones I found were eerily similar to the cat model but the face, the sad squished face of this creature, was decidedly not a cat. The comfort that I did not pick up the bones of someone’s cat is a nice one but I did have one uneasy feeling a part from thinking someone might pullover and ask if I was OK. The feeling was that the placement of the animal was right next to the road in the dirt boarding it but partially hidden by the grasses and weeds growing there. The bones I had noticed a week ago, almost all there and looking very clean, as though someone else might have had the idea to go back and collect the bones But would there really be another person out there who wanted the same road kill I picked up this afternoon?

Paying Attention
News on east coast today: catastrophe
Swollen rivers took bridges, surround towns,
swept away onlookers, flooded homes.
These are the main story images:
flashes of millions of dollars of damages.
Headlines and numbers roll below newscasters:
inadequate representation of personal disasters
Still I’m concerned about one misused apostrophe

the first one seems self-explanatory and the poem is based on my TV watching at the gym where I got distracted by a misplaced apostrophe… so I guess that one is fairly self-explanatory too.

Creative Commons License
This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: