Road Kill

Sugar Mule 2002

The deer are eating the arborvitae again this morning. It's not their fault that this Connecticut winter is the coldest with the most snow in thirty years. They're ruining my yard, all my hard work over the years. I'm sure they've already gotten to the tulip bulbs. The powdered fox urine I spent a fortune on has done no good. I think instead of repelling them it attracts deer. But, I don't believe for one minute, that all the deer road kill is because of them getting reckless in their search for food. I think they are smarter than we give them credit for and are committing suicide rather than face starvation.

I parked my car in the commuter lot at exit 61 and walked over to watch the cars on the turnpike below me. They are the crazy people, driving as fast as they do with ice and snow on the road. The truckers are the worst. They are fearless, speeding down the road and everyday I hear on the news about some exit being closed off because of a jackknifed tractor-trailer.

I watched as three deer stood in the woods across the turnpike from me. As always, they were beautiful. I wonder if all deer are as beautiful to each other as they are to people. They huddled, seemingly planning their move, and finally single file they slowly walked down the hill towards the turnpike. There was a bend in the road so their sightline was limited, but most likely their hearing was better than ours. It would have to be so they could tell if a predator was sneaking up on them.

They were all about the same size so I couldn't name them and be sure if I was talking about the right one when I mentioned his name. Sometimes, even most times there's a greater size difference and I can name them even it it's only for the few minutes I see them as they're bounding into the woods or across a field. There goes Groucho, Harpo and Chico. Look, Kramer, Jerry and Elaine.

They stopped halfway down the hill and chewed on a white pine, something they would not ordinarily do, and then one left the others and continued down hill. As he approached the turnpike he picked up speed and jumped the side rail just in time to hit and be hit by an eighteen-wheeler. He flew up into the air landing on the windshield of a red sedan that swerved into the tracter-trailer that was breaking hard with smoking tires and sliding across his lane into the slow lane. The tractor-trailer jackknifed and the red sedan came to an abrupt stop after plowing into the truck cab lying on its side with its wheels spinning. The deer slid off the back of the red sedan and lie dead and bloody on the icy road. The truck driver was halfway out of his cab window, motionless, perhaps as dead as the deer.

I wondered how many tractor trailer drivers choose to commit suicide by their lunatic driving and if this driver could possibly have been on a mission this trip to end his own life.

I looked across at the hill and the other deer were gone. The traffic was now stopped in both directions and sirens wailed in the distance. I walked back to my car to listen to the news and see if there was once again a traffic alert about another jackknifed tractor- trailer.

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