I love the fall. The days are shorter. Air crisper. Leaves changing color. Well, almost everything about fall. I don’t love the dead animals.
You read that right. DEAD ANIMALS.
For some reason, animals seem to die more often, or at least more publicly, in the fall.
Last week, Pettigrew and I had to temporarily avoid three of our walking routes: on one there was a dead squirrel. First it was sprawled on the sidewalk. In an early morning stupor I forgot we had encountered it the day before and took the same route. I was thrilled to see a clear sidewalk. Until I looked up. Someone had stretched the squirrel’s body out along the top of the fence. Bushy tail in a straight line behind the body.
Is it possible to freeze and simultaneously keep walking? Every muscle in my body tensed. Locked. My lips pulled down. Shoulders stretched to my ears. Stomach churned. I wanted to, but didn’t, whimper. At least I don’t think I did.
We did not walk that way again until a friend assured me the squirrel was gone. I checked with her.
In the interim, Pettigrew and I turned the other way when we came to Dead Squirrel Intersection.
There was a dead something the other way. Small white body. Red, goopy stuff spilling from its side. My lips are tightening and curling down just typing this. I called it a mouse. A friend called it a vole, or maybe she said mole. In any case, I didn’t go back for a closer inspection.
The next time Pettigrew and I headed out for a walk we turned the opposite way when we left the house. Steps from our front door we paused to cross the street. Dead bird. At our feet. In the cross walk.
Is there no mercy?
What is it about fall?
Are the animals caught unprepared for the colder temperatures?
Are they rushing to gather their last minute supplies for winter—laying in stores of food and reinforcing their homes—and forgetting to stay safe?
This isn’t the first year we’ve noticed the influx of fall dead animals.
It’s seriously diminishing my love of the season.
Note: For Pettigrew’s point of view see In My Own Voice #11: A Classic Case of Bait and Switch