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Putting on the Brakes
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On my way to the post office I hit the brakes for a turkey that lumbered out onto the highway. There were at least a dozen of the big birds milling around in the undergrowth beside the road. My little car wouldn't have survived an encounter with that wild bunch.

Turkeys are slow enough to avoid easily. Deer can bound into your path in an instant. Luckily, the fawn I stopped for a few days earlier didn't leap out of the woods. It practically tiptoed across the asphalt. While I waited for it to cross, I peered into the trees, looking for the mother that had to be around, but didn't spot her.

My last trip back from the grocery was temporarily interrupted by several mallard ducks that zig-zagged back and forth and threatened to flee underneath the car, before dropping into the ditch where they must've been feeding.

I've rarely hit anything. I still recall the sickening bump of the tires rolling over a woodchuck that darted out of nowhere. I know the exact road bend where it happened years ago. And I admit to crushing more than one frog the rainy spring night when I ran into a foggy stretch of roadway carpeted with tiny amphibians who had decided it was good travelling weather.

I know there are those who will go out of their way to run down an animal, but they are few. There's that sickening bump to contend with. And not even the most deprave animal haters will intentionally veer toward anything large enough to damage their vehicles.

Besides, most of us have probably walked along a road and for most of us, that's reason enough to hit the brakes. From a vehicle, roadkill is part of the scenery but when you walk along a road on a hot day you can smell the sweetish, heavy stench before you spot the source and, as you hurry by you can hear the swarming flies and see them glinting in the sun. Then you realize that these were creatures that died. Not just sights.

Many of us have picked beloved pets up off the road.

Much of what goes on in the world, we see only from a safe distance. We rush by, glancing at the news on the computer monitor on our way to something more pleasant. We rarely walk past the reality or even feel a bump. I suspect, if so much of what goes on wasn't just scenery to so many, the world would be a different place.

I was thinking about this while reading all the stories devoted to wars and elections and fear mongering. It's too bad that a lot people who will brake for turkeys won't vote killers out of office.

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