I know its a weird way to start my actually-here posts, but I returned from my trip to find my leopard gecko had passed away. Caleb had been doing bad for quite some time, and I think it may have been my fault. I always gave him food and water, but I think that while I was away at college, though my family gave him the same materials, they did not give him any attention. I know they never took him out and held him or interacted with him.
As a result, I think my gecko, in part, died because of lack of interaction. It may have also been his time – he was a rather old gecko. But leopard geckos are the worst when they get old, because they just stop eating (or all of the ones I have had, have). They’re desert animals, so it takes forever for them to die.
I cried today. Not necessarily because of the death of my gecko, because everything has a time to go, but more because the poor creature had to die alone. I think to an extent that all creatures are as scared of death as we are, although it may resurface and rework itself in many different ways.
Along the bike trip, throughout the day, we would pass by on the roads various roadkill. From birds (I think there was a hawk at one point) to deer to groundhogs and squirrels, the roadkill we passed counted as objects to avoid riding over. As a result, our trail markers often marked the area around them – drawing a flourescent pink circle around them (that was the color of the trail paint) – and one particular volunteer would place mardi gras beads on top of them.
It was meant as something to make the riders smile, but it also held a solemn note – we were saying goodbye to the deaths that no one was close enough to, to realize, to mourn, to recognize.
The entire earth is a community. I don’t mean to make us all cry every day for the many, many animals, plants and other organisms alike that pass on, but an occasional moment of solemn awareness, a recognition of the gravity and importance of death, is a good way to start.
My high priest once knew a woman who would go out and draw or photograph roadkill. Then she would name it, frame it, or in some other way categorize it. I think that’s taking it a little too far. But if no one notices the dead, how are we supposed to truly appreciate the living?