Sunday, April 11, 2010
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.