Monday, July 26, 2010

Observations from a Cheap Yellow Bicycle

A Moment for Roadkill

Knowing that Ireland was a small island with few woods and natural habitats, I had prepared myself to be a liaison for Paul to the wildlife of America. I would bring attention to the porcupines, white tail deer and other animals as we saw them in the fields we passed. We have not met any deer, coyotes, or foxes as of yet, and as it turns out, the species we have seen were easy to point out. Every day we had to navigate around an upwards of 25 rotting corpses on the side of the road. This means we will have swerved around well over 1,ooo- possibly 2,000 animals in various states of decay. There is the occasional opossum or cat, but the majority are found to be woodchucks and raccoons, with, actually, about 3 raccoons for every groundhog. The abundance of raccoon carcases surprised me, with the only explanation being that they are active in the evening, when cars are least likely to see them. A woman in a cafe with a husky voice asked if we rode at night. "No," I assured her. "We certainly do not."

They are all in one process of putrefaction or another. Sometimes a paw or limb would be laying detached up the road. Their faces, if there was much left to be read, shown various degrees of shock or anger that the last bit of them was taken into the sky by turkey buzzards. For these rotting mammals the question is not why did the chicken cross the road, but how the hell did it make it?

Paul points out the roadkill when he is ahead of me so I don't hit it and puncture a tire with its bones. I'm at a loss for any other way to honor the fallen wildlife of America. I would think that they have a lesson to bear, as they melt into the earth they came from, but it seems that any that I can come up with is too simple or something I don't won't to ponder on: Be safe. Sometimes you don't make it. It sucks to be hit by a truck. For now, I determined, I will continue to focus on avoiding them. Being one less tire that runs over their decaying flesh is my tribute and humble offering to the roadkill of the United States.


  1. Ryan,

    I want to know where you are. There is roadkill no matter where you are. When you go further west, you certainly will see antelopes. I'm at Joanne's--Lydia

  2. Swerve a bit south and you will see dead Armadillos. Millions of 'em!

  3. Hey Aunt Lydie. I think I was in either in Illinois or Indian at that point. Since we've hit Iowa the road kill seems to have lessened. Although it may keep up from hitting 2,000, I am still happy for the Iowan wildlife.