Sunday, April 11, 2010

The end

Isn't this image beautiful? I love the clots of color, and the graceful pale shapes in the center. I find it a soothing image, even though I know what it is: a micrograph of brain tissue damaged by rabies.

When I arrived at the trailhead this morning I saw an adult raccoon curled up on the ground in the middle of a clearing. Not a good sign. Nothing wild ever settles down for a nap on a lawn. The raccoon was lying perfectly still and I assumed it was dead, but I resisted the urge to get a closer look to make sure. Rabies is always a concern here, and that's a natural phenomenon I'd just as soon not learn about firsthand.

As I started down the trail I saw a ranger's truck pulling up next to the clearing. A couple of minutes later I heard a shot behind me. I guess the ranger didn't want to take any chances either. When I came back down the trail there was no sign at all of ranger or raccoon.

Who knows what was wrong with the raccoon--it may have just crawled out there to die after being hit by a car. Whatever the cause, it's sad to think of it struggling, instinct lost, helpless under the open sky.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.


Bozo said...

Puts me in mind of your Lucretius post.

Michael Sims said...

One of those sad little glimpses that make up so much of life, whether we're looking at human beings or other animals. Nicely written, as always.