We can go days without speaking to anyone but neighbor Marla, out walking Albert. Today was quite the opposite. I was well past the bend in the road when feisty Raven started yapping after me. The dog figured I was off her property and gave in to a shout from the house. A few minutes later her owner stopped her car and apologized. At least it gave us a chance for a quick exchange of pleasant greetings.
A few steps more, and I was looking at a dead raccoon on the road. I suspect it was a young one, but ‘coons in the wild don’t get as huge as those on garbage welfare on Long Island. I started to count the rings on the tail, but then corrected myself. You count rings on a tree to determine its age. Doesn’t work for ‘coons.
Next up, or rather down, was a skunk on the road, dead as could be. It might be the only animal that has more of a stench when freshly dead than when decomposing. I warned Marla with a text message, but there was a dead zone (appropriate!) in front of her house. The message went through when I was half way down the long hill.
John and I thought Smoky was dead, because he hadn’t come out to greet us for months. I had the pleasure of petting him two days in a row and still had my phone out to get his picture.
Smoky laid on my feet for a belly rub, and that’s when another neighbor drove by in a white van. She rolled down her window and asked, “Is the dog OK? Just saw two animals dead in the road back there and hoped this wasn’t a third.”
I spent long minutes at the creek, watching leaves tumble through the rapids. It’s mesmerizing. When I walked through the gas station, the lumber trucker I talked to recently was refueling. He walked away from the noise of the truck to chat with me. He’s older than I thought. He has six grandchildren, one from his daughter and five from his son. He explained that his son was in the navy, and every time he came back in port, his wife had another baby. A man in a van pulled up and asked if he’d had a wreck.
Trucker replied, “Yeah, I did! 40 years driving without an accident. Had two on the same day last week!”
When it was raining heavily, a woman in a car skidded into him. After that was sorted out, he drove on and saw a man brake sharply and hit the guard rail. He said, “I threw on my brakes, and I slid into the guard rail, too.”
Neighbor Dawn was driving to her volunteer job at a thrift store, and she stopped to comment on the dead animals. She continued, “John away with trains? I’ve seen you walking alone.”
I started up the steep hill, pausing only to wave at Ironman. I call him that because he works with wrought iron. He has been cleaning up outside his building, splitting logs and piling them up.
As I went back past Marla’s house, I took a shot of the trap Dave had put out to catch the skunk. The marshmallow bait was still there. Dave and neighbor Mark across the street hoped to catch the skunk that had been lurking about their properties. They would have given it a free move to the woods. Getting caught would have been better for you, Skunk.