Everyday decisions..

I know this post is undoubtedly going to give incredibly accurate insight as to the strange person i am, but so be it…

Today I went out to do some errands in the city. I live about half an hour outside the nearest city limits, so you can understand that it really isn’t an unusual occurrence to see deer running around. I was a couple of minutes away from my house when I noticed that there was another car pulled over with their hazard lights on, but it didn’t look like they were having car troubles. It just looked like they were waiting for something. As I drove closer, I saw a beautiful doe laying in front of their car.

They had obviously just hit her moments before and they were waiting for assistance. It is actually against the law here to kill an animal like that and drive off and leave it. You have to give a report and professionals have to dispose of the animal’s body. So here were these people waiting for assistance…and in the meantime, there was the doe. She was still alive, her legs broken. As I drove past she looked frightened and tried to stand up, but couldn’t. I’m not even completely sure why, but that was one of the saddest things I think I have seen. I just thought to myself that, if I were someone who owned my own firearm, I would gladly pay the fine for killing that animal so that it wouldn’t sit there suffering–put it out of its misery. But at the same time, part of me definitely questioned whether I would be able to do that if I found myself in that position. Could I really end the life of a beautiful animal like that? Granted, it would have died anyways, but maybe not at my hands.

Anyways…to the point. Being the poetical sap that I am, I immediately thought of this poem I read during my first semester of college:

Traveling through the dark I found a deer dead on the edge of Wilson River Road. It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: the road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead. By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing; she had stiffened already, almost cold. I dragged her off; she was large in the belly. My fingers touching her side brought me the reason–her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting, alive, still, never to be born. Beside that mountain road I hesitated. The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights; under the hood purred the steady engine. I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red; around our group I could hear the wilderness listen. I thought hard for all of us–my only swerving–then pushed her over the edge into the river.”

William Stafford


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