Home Page is Florida Time Forgot

Mark Renz words and photo

My World

I can't recall a day I haven't seen an animal
dead on Hwy. 31
Most days, it's multiple carcasses...
hawks, vultures, egrets, cranes
otters, deer, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes,
snakes and alligators

This morning on the same road
I am fixed as always, on my world
sort-of listening to NPR
caught up in my dreams
my obligations
with my foot on the gas
of my Chevy long-bed
Pushing 60, occasionally 65
while nearby a viceroy butterfly
caught up in its own world
glides gracefully over a field of flowers
that ends abruptly at a concrete corridor
Where our two worlds collide
windshield to wings

And upon doing a u-turn
in case I was wrong
I find its lifeless body flattened
and wings broken

But rather than dwell on its passing
I slip back into my cab
and soon I'm pushing 65 again
and listening
as the radio guest offers tips
about a healthier lifestyle

And while thinking about how
sometimes I'm part of the problem
sometimes part of the solution
I see a tiny warbler
fly into the path
of an oncoming 18-wheeler
then vanish under the rig
tumbling along the pavement
before landing on its side

Another u-turn...carefully
then scooping up the tiny bird
in my hand
I feel the warmth of its body
and see only one eye open
for just a few seconds
then watch it slowly close
as the bird passes

It's hard for me
when I so want to protect wildlife
while at the same time knowing
I'm a creature that can be
its greatest threat
destructive and indifferent
to the nonhuman world

Sometimes I think
indifference is a blessing
and knowledge a curse

Friends tell me to stop worrying
over every bug and bird
that slams into someone's windshield
Get on with life!
So after burying the bird,
I slip back into my truck
and back into my dreams
half listening to NPR
and thinking about obligations
to my world
wondering if I am part of the solution
or part of the problem