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Almost Enough to Make You Cry

August 6, 2014

My early morning commute includes a 1.5 mile long stretch of very dark road that parallels a large nature reserve. That particular route is a little slower than hopping right on the highway but it’s quiet and it’s peaceful and I like that soft feeling in the morning so when I have the time, I take it. I’ve learned to be careful driving this stretch because more often than not there’s one type of animal or another moving about and crossing the road before the sun rises.

This morning I’m driving along and ahead in the road I see two yellow eyes look up at me. I slow down and move over a little toward the shoulder and as I get nearer I see the grey fur and recognizable facial mask of a raccoon. It’s a young one, small, about a foot long, maybe a little larger, and his head is whipping back and forth. He’s trying to move away and his front legs are doing what they’re supposed to be doing but his rear legs don’t appear to be working. I suppose he got clipped by another car and there he sits, helpless. And waiting. Maybe it’s just me, but I could feel the panic as I drove past.

Sometimes I wonder if animals really look happy or sad or if we just see them as happy or sad depending on the situation in which we’re seeing the animal. I’m not a big fan of raccoons but I can’t really hold what they do and how they live against them; it’s what they’re here on earth to do. So even though I don’t like them I can’t help but identify with how one in pain and afraid might be feeling and this morning that raccoon sure looked scared. It was almost enough to make you cry.

Here’s hoping that like this raccoon it was only a scratch.

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