Tragedy on the Nullarbor - Unfinished Business - CycleBlaze

Tragedy on the Nullarbor

Warning: I find this disturbing

Late last night I watched a satellite drift across the western sky as a meteorite burnt itself in a frenzy to the east. I managed to stay up enjoying the stars until 10 pm and downed a cup of water before retreating to the tent, where I fell quickly into deep slumber. I was up early and quickly rekindled the fire and put on a billy for tea and another with the porridge that I soaked overnight. As I went through the normal ritual of packing, I looked up to an overcast sky and wondered where the stars had gone. I sat down on a cool morning to a fireside breakfast contemplating a hard day ahead.

I pushed out to the road at 7 am and, for a time, made good progress but then seemed to stop in my tracks. That was probably a figment of my imagination for I did 40 km in the first two hours despite stopping for several photos. As I cycled feint rainbows bounced from shrubs and at fleeting times the light was spectacular. But whenever I stopped to capture it, it disappeared as though controlled by an invisible puppeteer.

It was while I was chasing the light that I came upon a freshly-killed southern hairy nosed wombat. For millions of years these creatures went about their business with little to worry about. Their evolution prepared them for life in a harsh environment, but it did nothing to educate them about enormous vehicles with piercing eyes eating the landscape with formidable speed.

What a tragedy! While I finished my day around a comforting fire and then a rejuvenating sleep this gorgeous, defenceless creature was scrubbed from existence. She deserved a burial away from the road but what she got instead were crows, which were gathering already. They would turn her into corvid flesh and corvid shit and leave her bones to bleach in the sun.  The least I could do was make a photograph. I took out my camera, removed the lens cap and found a lens fogged by the cold. Am I forbidden to preserve her for eternity? As I warmed the lens I noticed, some 10 metres away, a lightly furred pouch young. To my utter dismay, it moved as though stretching. I wanted to pick it up and give it a hug – hold it until it faded away. But holding it would just prolong its chanceless life. And where would I find a wildlife carer near here? I wanted also to put it out of its misery but for once in my life I was gutless and could not muster the courage to grab a lump of wood and whack it over the head.

So, I didn’t comfort it and I didn’t kill it. Instead I cycled off hating the world. Are all the things that you see when cycle touring good or bad?  Is it better just to hurtle along at 100 km per hour oblivious of the tragedy that surrounds you?

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Brian DaviesI feel your pain.
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1 year ago
Ian WallisTo Brian DaviesBrian
Usually I muster up the courage to bang them on the head. That day my courage failed me. Ian
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1 year ago
Brian DaviesTo Ian WallisOn an early morning ride out in the countryside, many years ago, a speeding car ahead of me hit a beautiful hare. When I arrived the poor thing was still concious but severely injured. I looked around for a rock or log but there was nothing suitable so I had to grit my teeth and use my heel. I felt terrible all day. Most road-kill I come across is out of it so I will always remember that hare.
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1 year ago