Wednesday, October 13, 2010

hit a 'possum tonight, out driving home on the back roads, from wal-mart, came over a hill and there he was, right out in the middle of the road, white as a sheet, with big doleful dark eyes staring right at me. no time to swerve or anything; i ran straight over him, and heard a thump; then, i didn't go back, because i know they are nasty little things, with sharp teeth, and besides what would i do with him even if i saw him injured? take him to a shelter? or anywhere else? i was at a loss, so i just kept going home.

i'd been on that road where i'm sure the old town was, not far from that cemetery where the road takes a gentle curve around it, and of course, it's wild and dark out there, lots of stars, and the dry grasses and leaves are changing colors every day. an old friend of mine from the area had stopped by earlier, and he has lived out that way, and does a lot of campaigning in the area, so i'd asked him about the alleged town, that used to be on a railroad bed, and was halfway between carbondale and murphysboro, and was supposedly some kind of resort, and maybe even had a lake. the heck of it is, i can't find a lake, or even a railroad bed, only that little cemetery, and i don't even remember where i got the information, so i don't know where to start looking. so he'd said, look for the power lines, because they would have traced the route of the railroad. and sure enough, i'd seen power lines out there by the golf course, crossing the road at a kind of high spot, maybe high because it had been a railroad bed. but this was away from the cemetery, by maybe a half mile, and though there were houses right there, the golf course itself really kind of dominated the terrain.

so once again i was looking out both windows as well as the front, also noticing that there's a huge moon, and a lot of stars, more really than we have here in town, and i'd only gone a couple of miles out of town. i've been driving on a spare, because we got a flat the other day, and haven't got new tires yet. so i was driving fairly slowly and keeping my hands tight to the wheel; but, even so, this little critter was blinded by the lights, no doubt, and didn't make a move that i could see. then, thump.

it's been extraordinarily dry, so much that they say there are fire warnings off in the forest, and you can feel lots of the grass crackle under your feet as you walk. some say, you only see 'possums when it's real dry, or real wet, and if that's the case, that could be why; the other day, and then again today, it actually sprinkled just a little; but, it was so dry that the ground sucked it up and absorbed it almost immediately. one of the times it rained, i was actually on the ground, taking the flat tire off the car, and putting the spare on; i thought, oh well, one minute out of a thousand i get to sit outside, and it starts to rain. but it was one of those days, fairly common around here, where it looks all blustery and gray and rainy, but it basically just sprinkles if at all. so there i am on the ground, fixing the tire, and these guys come along and offer help; this was really nice; it showed me that i'm not alone in this world. but i passed it up; i figured, it's really better to fix just one tire once in a while, so you don't forget about the process.

so here i am, a day or so later, rattling on about the process, about a multi-weather day, a rain-again, off-again fall evening, stunning colors everywhere, and then, out there somewhere, in the fields, some young 'possum is writhing in pain, maybe even dying. it isn't fair; he's a little feller, comes out when it's dry or wet; didn't know from traffic. for me, on the other hand, it's finals time, grading time; it's busy; now i'm tired, and can't stay up much longer, can't even hardly find my way upstairs. i kind of wish i could have dealt with him though; he was a ghost, a little thing. he'll need that youth, that survival instinct, to get through the cold days ahead.


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