Warning: This post talks about gross stuff. Don’t read it if gross stuff upsets you.

Much of yesterday’s ride was along route 15, which is a pretty major highway around here. I don’t normally like to ride along the highways, but 15 is really the only path that cuts through the mountains.

When you ride a bicycle along the road, you see a lot of roadkill. In the car, you tend to fly past it at 60mph and quickly forget about it. On the bike, you see it, smell it, ride past it, and then you have ample time to reflect on the gruesome, nightmarish nature of motorized transport.

My ride along the highway revealed a whole new gallery of horrors. I saw the mortal remains of several animals strewn along the roadside. On the south-bound half of my ride, I saw most of what used to be a deer. Sadly he was missing some important components. I came upon the missing parts on the north-bound part of my journey, which means that the force of the impact launched pieces across all four lanes and the median.

I also came upon a crumpled mass of flesh and feathers that seemed to be the remains of a peregrine falcon.

a Peregrine Falcon
A Peregrine Falcon

I thought about snatching a couple of feathers. Maybe they would have magical Dumbo properties to help propel my bicycle along the roadway at record speeds. I reasoned that on the one hand, I would be memorializing a magnificant bird. On the other hand, I would be looting a corpse. I decided to let him rest in peace.

I’m not the only one who gets upset by roadkill. A man in my home turf upstate came upon a dead bobcat this week. He says he moves roadkill into the woods “out of respect for them.”

He buried the cat in his yard.

It’s sad that the cat was killed, but I think it’s a positive sign of the health of the forest that it’s able to support bigger predators.