This post has been simmering on the back burner of my mind for some time; completely unattended but left to simmer still. Maybe had I attended it, added a few ingredients or gently stirred it, it, this post might pour out a bit better. But I didn’t attend it; it attended me and in helplessly witnessing a tragic event unfold Monday I have been brought to this simmering post and pour out its contents be they smooth or lumpy….
On a very busy road I waited, sitting in the center lane, for the opportunity to turn into the fueling station. Vehicles were zip and zooming by me on both sides. To my left I a little movement on the roadway caught my eye; a squirrel. Oh my, there he was running, stopping, darting, dashing, in his attempt to avoid the tires speeding by. He made it across two lanes to the only safety he had, in front of my sitting-waiting-to turn car. At this point if I knew I could reason with a squirrel I’d have gotten out of my car in the middle of this bustling road and given him a lift to the other side.
Not being a squirrel whisperer, all I could do was pray and watch. While praying was, watching was probably not, the best thing for me to do. Out he went from the ‘safety’ of our center lane resuming his running, stopping, darting, dashing. Oh thank God, he made it across the first lane and yes it appeared he would make it had the approaching truck been going 50 mph and not 52. Just before he reached the other side he was hit.
Oblivious to all those zooming by, except me, I watched this furry little critter attempt to get up, his tail flipping wildly to bring him to his feet. Then another car, the last one needing to pass so I could turn…
Whenever I see a dead animal on the road I say, “Oh I’m so sorry little critter, bless your heart.” I don’t know, but I suppose if you know me you get it. One day, a few weeks ago, driving along I-15 to the big city, I made an attempt to I indentify all the critters I was blessing the hearts of. This particular day, while several were unidentifiable, there was a variety of critters. I blessed the hearts of several rabbits and snakes, a coyote, two raccoons, a few deer, and a cat. Wow, I thought how very sad they didn’t either stay on their side of the highway or didn’t make to the other side.
Then the very next day as I began my I-15 journey to the big city, a young buck (the four legged fur covered kind of young buck) caught my eye, really caught my eye, like eye contact, like deer-totem-I-have-a-message-for-you contact. Now I’m just getting on the freeway gassing it to join the other 75-80 mile-per-hourers and I’m making eye contact with a deer, feeling him.
He was pacing the fence line along the 15, pacing on the safer side of the fence. As I looked at him I felt his panic, his anxiety, my heart began to race as his was, our breath quicken and became shallow. I knew what he was thinking, “I have to get to the other side.” Whatever he wanted or needed, what he longed for was on the other side of a crazy, high traffic, fast moving interstate.
As I joined the other mile-per-hourers on the highway, I watched him from my rear view mirror. I prayed for him, for his safe crossing. I looked for him along both sides of the 15 from Blackridge to my exit for days, hoping to not have to say, “Oh I’m so sorry little critter, bless your heart.”
These critter events hold a lot for me, contain a great deal of lesson and messages but here’s the thing I want to share; we all reach a moment, a time in our lives when what we want or what we need or what we long for….simply put, there is a time we must cross to the other side to continue the journey of self. While our need intensifies we might begin to get, well like that darling little squirrel (oh I’m so sorry little critter, bless your heart) and run out, darting, dashing, stopping, dodging…
But we have choices. We could choose to forgo the longing, need, want and settle back into the safety of the side we’re on; you know the safer side of the fence. Or we could do the squirrel thing hoping to make it and sometimes we do. Or we can set our sights for the other side trusting, knowing, believing a safe crossing will open up, there is passage…
”The way is shown. The path is clear.” Tara SinghA footnote:
This great photo is by a dear friend of mine Brent Prince. I adore his work and hope he doesn't mind me using it here. He titles this one When Deer Talk Back, kind of perfect as I am a true believer animals speak to us, offer us lessons, messages. Having been run over by a great big tractor/trailer, my reaction watching that squirrel may have kicked in a little PTSD, had the other folks at the gas station known they might not have looked at me so oddly as this little-no-legged-girl sobbed filling her Equinox. I don’t know, just thinking. But what I heard, learned from all these critters is way more than what I have shared here. Okay, a brief bit of comfort for me and maybe a few of you ‘critter’ lovers is this, I had once heard a talk given by a woman (sorry can’t recall her name) who said she believed, knew, that animals are gifted to have their spirits/souls leave their bodies prior to death…may it be so.