I remembered what Grande’ had told me, the first time I saw a dead animal–it had been a young doe deer–dead on a surface road. Freshly dead, there were vultures around and on her body; they had alerted Grande’s always-erratic driving in time to slow down and avoid, at least, a second and messier collision.
I might have cried, I didn’t really remember.
“Wild things don’t need pity,” he had told us. “They don’t feel it for themselves. They don’t want it. A wild creature doesn’t remember pain. It doesn’t think about it, afterwards. It doesn’t look into the future and anticipate it. When it’s happy, it is happy. When it’s suffering, it endures. When the pain is past, it is happy again. Wild things are strong, and they are stoic, and they do not regret. Do not ever pity a wild thing.”
Sam and I had been very young, and very, very small then. Grande had pulled over, and put on gloves, and himself had pulled the wild thing’s body off the road and into the tall grass, where others would take what they needed now and she did not.