On the path ahead of me lay death. Belly up, frozen in time, in fur soft enough to be curious about; I wonder if its fur is still soft? It shook me, the sight of the vole – the sight of its four little limbs, stuck straight up, pointing on up to the spirit in the sky.
I wanted to make a gesture, to acknowledge its little life, for each life that crossed this path also crossed mine. My intention was to lift it somehow, in the cup of a strong leaf or lay it on a stick like a gurney but I all I could do was shudder. My reaction to the grey carcass scaring me more than carcass itself.
I found a long enough stick, one that gave me some distance. The best I could do was flick its lifeless body with the tip of the stick, jumping every time, one too many times. I wish I had the composure to gently push the little one, roll it to an imagined grave.
Walking away, I had a hard time shaking off the creep that coursed through me.
Speaking out loud to calm my fear, I begun the eulogy.
Apologizing, I told the air I felt sorry that I couldn’t have done better, that I couldn’t have been stronger for the vole.
I spoke to its spirit. I hoped that by speaking my intentions out loud, I’d made amends somehow.
Then I spoke the fear of death, burrowing it like a spell.