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Asphalt and Steel.

I watched an animal die yesterday.

While sitting in my car at a red light, I noticed an unfamiliar brown creature with a flat tail waddle onto the roadway from the curb. In that moment, the only thing that existed to me were giant steel machines stopped on the roadway and this curious little creature looking around. He walked up to the car ahead in the lane next to me and sniffed its back right tire. Then he walked around the tire and under the car, away from the blinding snow. A nose up in the air, he stood up on his hind legs and burrowed his head somewhere under the car.

Horrified at what might happen, I put my hands together and whispered, “Please God, don’t let him get run over. Please, let him live. Please don’t kill him. Let him live. He doesn’t need to die. Please.”

The creature out his head back down and walked over to another tire, sniffing. The driver of the car was oblivious to the fact that a creature was sniffing around under its car. (How often has this happened to us? Have creatures sniffed under my car?) I don’t even know if the driver of the UPS truck behind that car noticed. For a moment, the creature momentarily disappeared from my view as he ventured towards another car.

The light turned green. Panicked, I kept my eyes on the roadway as the cars slowly accelerated through the intersection. I didn’t see him. Did he walk into my lane? Was I going to be the one that would run him over? Would he make it safely back to the curb? Then I saw him — terrified, scurrying towards the curb. He must have realized he was in the wrong place. Thankfully, the car didn’t run him over.

Then the truck started moving. The creature quickly walked under the truck’s tire. A quick burst of yellows, browns, and reds, and the truck rolled on. He would not ever make it back to the curb.

Angry, I screamed out, “No! No! No! Why!?” I pounded the steering wheel. Tears started to come out of my eyes. Not wanting to be the only person in the world that knew what just happened, I picked up my phone and called my husband to share the story. He shared my sorrow. I arrived to work a few moments later.

I am not innocent to running over animals. My car has sadly hit two animals in the past six months. On my way to my wedding rehearsal, I saw a tiny chipmunk on the road and stopped my car to avoid hitting him. I didn’t stop in time. A few weeks later, my husband was driving my car and accidentally ran over a squirrel. I mourned both times. I don’t what it is, but I’m a softy about every living creature.

All living things die. All living things should die naturally. But in this world? They don’t. We have taken the environment of so many innocent creatures and turned it into a scary one with metal machines, high speeds, and asphalt. My heart breaks when one falls victim to our world. I feel even worse when it’s my fault or when I helplessly see one on the road about to die. I hate it.

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2 thoughts on “Asphalt and Steel.

  1. It’s awful, I know how you feel. I live in a rural area and there is lots of wildlife that is often oblivious to the fact that cars and trucks are flying down the street at 45 mph+ speeds. I always mourn for the little animals too, and just try to do my best to be as careful as possible when I see little animals thinking about crossing the street or playing in the middle of the street. There is only so much we can do but hopefully our careful driving habits will rub off on others!

    1. My husband and I usually drive relatively slow when going through a rural area (especially with a lot of trees) because we don’t want deer or other animals to jump out onto the road and hurt anyone. Because of this awareness, we have stopped many times from hitting deer. I’m not sure how many people are aware that deer are everywhere… I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks of all the animals while driving! Thank you.

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