A deer was in the road, freshly hit by something coming the other way. Looked like it could have been a tank, what with how mangled that poor thing ended up. Balls of fur strewn across the pavement and her head nearly severed. Warm blood ran onto the tarmac down the way from which she was hit. Whomever killed her had not the the decency or bother to stop and take her out of the way. So I pulled in and turned around and switched on my hazard flashers, got my gloves from the toolbox and dragged her into the ditch by the hind legs. How far is far enough, I wondered. Just off the road feels as hurried and careless as the person who hit her, but keeping on into the wood would be too much. She settled into a cup in the land and I crouched in the dark.
“I’m sorry sweetheart. you didn’t deserve this.”
Crude flaps of skin and flesh ran crimson wet with the life that only just left her. Suddenly I was overcome with anger. Why do we have to claim so much of this world and run pavement all over it so we can rush along at 65 miles an hour leaving a trace of demise? This carnage we create is too readily brushed aside as a necessary consequence of modern mobility. To the animals, this black river of hard earth cuts through their home. No wonder they look surprised as we come in hot with the high beams on.
She was warm yet and I had a vivid flashback to moving Samuel, the Bolivian motorcyclist I couldn’t save. Fresh dead bodies all move the same way — nature cares not what family of mammals you belong to. And roads are risky, whether you move across or along them. Tonight, highway 200 took a life on the Idaho-Montana state line. I hoped someone would see us and stop so I could share the sadness. But it was just me in the blackness with tears streaming down my face and a gloved hand awkwardly resting on a broken body.