…the transition from how I began this post to where I’ve ended up and beyond, back to the idea as I first conceived it? It ain’t gonna happen. Not in this post, and probably not for a while. Which is how I ended that other post regarding roadkill, dated on July 1.
On my mind that July day? My cousin John. The one in Brasil. The one who used to live in Brasil, I guess I should say; it’s been past tense now since early March. The one who lay dying on March 6. My birthday. Not that such small details matter much. It’s simply a marker: easy to remember. But I don’t aim to forget.
John’s brain went silent early on the 7th. The next “month-anniversary” on September 7, if so it may be called, marks the sixth since his death. His family in Brasil grieves terribly. I think of them now as my cousins, though we have yet to meet. I grieve in my own way, as do my cousins scattered here and there across North America. I don’t know for sure, but my hunch is this Brasilian family has more family far distant in East Asia. As do I. That’s two hemispheres, three continents, 16 time zones.
By happenstance on March 7, I got a call from a colleague, if you will, in the green burial movement, way east on Cape Cod. She wanted me to know that Bri Barton, young woman from the Philly area, was swinging by Ithaca for a book talk; had self-published Everything Dies, a coloring book for adults, and did I want to get in touch? So I did. Why not? Death was much on my mind and it seemed fitting. So I drove into town as evening fell and found the venue. When Bri was done reading I bought the book.
But what I was thinking about that whole time was that family in Brasil.
On the way home my headlights picked up a small white body off to the side of the road. “Possum,” I thought, and drove on. I’m rather fond of possums; they leave the most delightful tracks in the snow. And for anyone unlucky enough to have chronic Lyme, know this — possums are tick hoovers. (More on that some other time.)
Then I thought — looks fresh. Go back. Check it out. It was an order and I obeyed. I favor homegrown food and this fit the bill. I’d like to think John would have too, had my brain been the one shutting down. Because despite the immensity of Sao Paulo, where he lived for nearly 20 years, John’s hillbilly roots went a good deal deeper than mine. So I pulled over on the shoulder behind the possum and put on the four-way flashers. The slightest tinge of blood spoke of a glancing blow to its head; but at 55 mph for so small an animal, a glancing blow means death. Its body? Still limp, still warm. I had a couple of plastic bags (pure coincidence, since I’m not a plastic-bag kind of gal) on the floor behind the seat. I double-bagged the possum, turned up my twisty-turny road, and pulled into the driveway.
Which is where I’ll end tonight. It’s been a long day. I’m done. More (maybe) anon.