> jumping into life.

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On our evening walk some nights ago we passed a small body on the side of the path. Couldn't tell what it was; it looked flattened, though far too far from a road to be roadkill. Scruff and skull, some bones, and matted fur.

I bent close to see. He stepped back in disgust when I reached out my hand to touch it, to pull the bloodthick pelt aside and look at the skull close-up. Not rodent, the teeth all wrong for that. Not one of the beavers we watch sometimes at dusk, wondering where their kits go, or went, since theirs is the only beaver dam in Burlington. A fox? Raccoon? If so, of this year's litter, the crumpled mass too small for an adult. No other bones to guide me, nothing I could recognize, nothing I would know to see. I set the skull back into its nest of fur, itself no help - in twilight all animals are grey - and I stood up. The sun behind the distant hills had turned the clouds to pink and red: of course. How could the sky be anything but bloodied when there is death such as this in the world?

I have often wished to do the same, on a walk, but of course a thousand screaming, "Don't touch that!" voices from mothers/others ring out in my head, and I can't bring myself to toss them aside.

Similarly, when driving through interesting countryside, I often want to stop the car and run into the pretty woods at the side of the road. But it would be breaking the rules...

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