All living creatures have a right to live, be treated humanely and respected. In my heart, I believe that humanity needs to broaden its concept of other life forms and put more emphasis on building an inclusive world. We were never meant to construct our human world so selfishly, and trample on the lives of other beings.
One of my stories, written in my first book, Mystical Animals of Ancient Oak, is about a family of groundhogs that took over our yard. It was the sping of 1997 when an anxious groundhog mother foraged for things in our meadow and scrambled into her tunnels. We were delighted when several curious baby groundhogs emerged from their protective tunnels and began their mischevious explorations of our yard. The years at Ancient Oak brought me a deeper appreciation of the inspiration that all living creatures bring us.
On a breezy, sunny morning in August of 2022 I was driving out of my cul de sac in Culpeper, Virginia and I turned onto a side street heading towards the railroad tracks. A car drove towards me and thought I saw something blow across the road. After the car passed I was agonized to see that what was struggling in the road was a groundhog that had just been hit by a car. I could see no reason this motorist couldn’t have stopped, being that this side street had sparse traffic and there was no weather or anything obstructing vision.
Desperately stuggling to get out of the road, the dying groundhog gasped for breath. His body was in death throws and I knew that any rescue attempt would probably cause him more pain. On many occassions I have pulled over to rescue turtles, birds and other creatures that were hit ont he road. But the extent of the groundhog’s injuries left him taking his last breath. I felt such despair knowing that the driver could have easily slowed down to avoid this animal.
Sadlly this type of scene plays out whereever there are automobiles and roads. I know that a driver committed to safety for humans as well as animals can make a major impact in lessening these fatalities on the road. The first thing is that people need to stop thinking of animals as expendable road kill. Every animal values their life as much as we do as humans. That one groundhog was on his important mission that day simply trying to navigate his way on a Culpeper, Virginia side street.
Over the last decades as development has increased, with more cars on the road the level of agression in people has skyrocketed. We need to all slow down and make safety and compassion a priority over every man for himself type of driving.
I hope everyone reading this blog post will find it in their heart to remember that our cars and roads are treading on areas that were once forest and animal habitat. This blog post honors the life of a groundhog that was simply trying to navigate his way on a residential street in Culpeper, Virginia and lost his sacred life. Let’s remember as we hurry through our day to slow down and yield to other species as they embark on their day’s journey.