Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Road kill takes on a new form at 15mph

Posted by Frum Hiker on August 2, 2007

A well used John Deere tractor sits alone in the middle of the field in front of a wall of tall swaying grass singing ever so slightly in the calm breeze. Behind the tractor sits a trailer used to cut a huge line of grass to eventually make hay. The trailers teeth create a spooky effect as if it were a shark on wheels. Behind these monstrosities sits an empty field with small clumps of grass that used to stand tall, left in neat straight piles waiting for the hay bailer to come along. A bird rests on the cab of the tractor and whistles in the wind, the sun can be seen in the distance slowly setting and reflecting the long shadowsx of the trees that sit beyond the field, the shadows are long enough to reach the road and as I pass they form on me for split seconds. The road had an orange hue and the small splotches of asphalt patches are glistening in the orange creating this pokedot effect.

I can watch the cracks in the road with such clarity it is as if I am passing over a coastline on a low flying aircraft and watching every nook and cranny in the notched out shoreline, I can see the coves and cracks and little areas of development. I avoid hese cracks and pass slightly to the side of them. I can differentiate between the different colors and materials between the cracks, I can see under them, into their bowels. I can see the old concrete road bed that was here before the black top ever came. I can see small pebels deposited here and there by passing traffic as they totally ignored these small cities of asphalt and concrete on their rush to some city setting.

Each individual tree can be viewed, it doesn’t look like a picket fence of green and brown from this speed. I can see if its maple or oak or even birch. I can see the fallen branches and the toppled trees with their huge trunks pointing to the sky and waiting for the natural biodegrading effect to take place and return their trunks back to whence they came from.

Small marshes and swamps that are normally forgotten can be enjoyed and if you slow down just a bit, a deer sipping water, a small muskrat or maybe some blue herons sitting on a log.

Even road kill takes on a new look. Instead of a brown lump slightly resembling a pile of excrement, the recently killed chipmunk, becomes just that. A life lost because he was trying to run back home with the days gathering of acorns, he may have made it to the shoulder when a big truck going to fast to even realize that life beyond the graded road existed, ran over the small rodent without even knowing he had just taken a life. The rodent sits at the side of the road, without a proper burial until a strong storm washes it over the edge of the road and joins its fallen brethren in the slow process of decomposition.

I can see tails, and feet and even eyes as I look down on the fallen heroes of the woods. Those brown lumps mean something as I avoid them by turning a slight degree; they become hazards and give the traveler a new point of view.

The world passes by much slower at 15 miles per hour. Not slow enough to differentiate between each individual blade of grass, slow enough to take in what the world has to offer without head sets, CD players, cell phones and fast driving. Exiting from my plastic and steel prison I mount my aluminum horse and pedal into the world at a slower pace. I am not angry at someone for cutting me off and I can smell the hay or manure or whatever smells greet me on my slow transition from city to suburbia to country. I like the road at 15, it feels much better.


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