Road Kill

Yesterday morning I drove the 300 mile distance between Chanhassen, MN, where we live, and Appleton, Wisconsin, where Elena goes to school. During the four and a half hour drive, I saw approximately 34 dead animals on the road or side of the road. Several raccoons and some smaller animals, but mostly deer. Thirty-four seemed like a high number for a four and a half hour drive, until I read a statistic from the Humane Society of the United States, that over a million animals are killed every day on our roads and highways.

Road kill. Amimals hit by drivers who were not paying sufficient attention to the road to avoid hitting the animals. Perhaps lost in thought. Perhaps talking on the cell phone. Perhaps caught up in the music on the radio. But not aware enough to avoid hitting something and killing or maiming it. (Doubtless, I overstate: Many times drivers try very hard to avoid hitting a deer on the road and are simply unable to do so.)

As I drove along, the thought that emerged as I passed two young deer lying next to each other on the median, was: we all have road kill. People we affirmatively injure in one way or another or fail to help by our inattentiveness.

Perhaps we are too preoccupied with our own thoughts to notice someone in need. Perhaps so concerned with our own plan and way of doing something that we neglect the contributions of others. Perhaps so impatient with ourselves about something that we respond in a hurtful way to another. You get my drift – and can doubtless spin out plenty more “perhaps”s of your own.

Who are our road kill? And do we leave them on the side of the road for someone else to pick up, or do we do something about it?


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