“After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say ''I want to see the manager." ” William S. Burrows

At some point this summer, i was in what i might consider to be the best athletic shape of my life. I was running three miles every other day and filling in the other days with yoga. I know running is hard on the old bones, and some people say it can cause as much injury as benefit, but i ran as much for the scenery as for the exercise. My ritual was to run one mile to the river, stretch, run a half mile out to the iris farm, then run back. My route, incidentally, is what i consider to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Its not unusual for me to see hawks, falcons, ducks, geese, cormorants, songbirds, river otters, salmon and deer, all in one half-hour interval. the intensity of the visual experience heightens the senses and charges my battery. But a couple of months into my routine, it all came to an abrupt halt.

It was a bad week, maybe. followed by another bad week. maybe the odds were all off. but every time i went running, i was witness to some measure of unpleasant carnage. it started with dead birds in the road, the birds that had already been hit long before i found them.
a pheasant, mallard ducks, goldfinches, and more. each time i saw one, i'd stop my run, pick it up gingerly, stroke its feathers, take a good look, soak up the intensely precious beauty, say a little prayer and give it a resting place proper somewhere in the grass. but then, one day, it was live. the first time, it was a pair of flirting kamikaze robins. i stopped my run at the liquor store, picked up a box, and carried them home for a funeral. next, a bird collision with a windshield, right in front of me. the bird was flung lifeless through the air, my legs went numb and i struggled to bounce back. it was followed by the bird who hovered over the remains of his buddy in the road. as if to commit suicide, he stumbled directly under the tire of a minivan, and i heard the crunch. i promptly quit running, and tried to brainstorm an activity that involved less brutality. according to studies, autos kill 50-100 million birds a year. i wonder: am i the only one who notices this kind of stuff? and paranoid, i now slow down for birds while i'm driving. my passengers tease me about it, but it sure beats the alternative.

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