He wasn’t quite dead when I found him on Saturday morning; but I didn’t know that until after I called Animal Control, and found the office closed.
Apparently animals aren’t supposed to get hit by cars at another other time of day except , Monday through Friday.
This being Saturday, the office was closed and the message said for me to call the police, and I did.
“If it isn’t an emergency, they won’t respond,” the dispatcher informed me.
Since I thought the ground hog dead, I hung up.
It was raining. The water gushed down the guttered so that the body was wet. But I left it, and went to do my chores.
When I got back, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to move the body, and when I touched the animal, he moved.
Not much, but more than a nervous reaction.
He was dying, but not dead. But he was near the wheel of a parked car and he was soaked from cold rain.
Monday seemed too long to wait to have someone come.
But I had little choice. So with gloves and a snow shovel, I scooped him up and brought him into my back yard where I have summer cushioned seats under an awning. I put him on the chair. He moved a little. He was still breathing. But he must have been cold.
I’m not certain this is the same ground hog that lived on the cliff behind my house, but I’m pretty sure it was.
I was proud to have him as a neighbor, and his loss struck me hard.
I liked seeing him poke his nose up into the air on warm spring days, liked see him grubble for grubs. For this reason, I called him “Mr. Grubbles.”
Although clearly on death’s doorstep and not completely aware of the world, Mr. Grubbles clearly hadn’t yet passed into the next world. So I covered him with an old hoodie and fixed a lamp above him the way I sometimes did for outside cats – like Charlie.
Charlie had often spent cold winter nights on the same chair under the same lamp, keeping him from freezing.
This winter I brought Charlie inside only to find that he had an incurable disease. I put him down only ten days prior to my finding Mr. Grubbles. So the pain I felt was over the loss of two valued neighbors. Their loss was incalculable. They were part of the fabric of my reality. They made up the last vestiges of the wild world soon to vanish under high rise construction and the chopping down of trees.
I liked to think that ours was an island of wilderness in this insane march towards paving over every thing, and over population by my species.
But civilization is relentless and uncaring, making victims even of those who survive.
Slow moving citizens like Mr. Grubbles cannot possibly survive the endless parade of speeding cars that have turned my street into a highway (as well as a parking lot at night). We seem determined to want to blot out anything that lives free without taxes, whether it is those homeless men who lived on the
Palisades or those less human, but just as important creatures who lived here
We seem determined to blot them out of existence, but want them to perish by our time schedule: , Monday to Friday.
Mr. Grubbles passed away during the night from Saturday to Sunday.
I hope he realized, he was loved.