"Coloring the Conservation Conversation--One Word at a Time!"

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shrew in Memorium

The Shrew
 In the middle of the dirt road--A dead shrew
Just there.
As if stopped short of the marathon twenty-foot crossing its two inch body was trying to make.
Blarina brevicauda, I pondered--
or carolinensis?
Pulling the latin from somewhere deep
But more immediate than more relevant things like human names and numbers
--or responsibilities.
A short-tailed life abbreviated by a metabolism that couldn’t make the crossing
Legs barely long enough to gather notice --it was freshly still
Not a mark to mar the softest fur-
Apparently not appetizing enough to anything to be eaten yet
or ever
A tasty-looking morsel tainted with too much shrewness
Its little pinhead eyes staring into whatever forever place shrews go after lives measured in months expire 
In the middle of  some frenzied chase to find the next morsel of shrew fuel
cricket, earthworm or other creepy crawly thing
I found it in there
Lying in soricid suspended animation
Evidence of a  life spent out when a heart half the size of split pea ceased to beat 
More times in a minute than mine multiplied a hundred times
Designed to feed a megawatt metabolism-
Eat, sleep, mate
The cycle defines life 
Boiled down to the essentials of survival
Years, days, minutes, seconds
Time passes without pause-for shrews, for people for all
The shrew
It lay there still
The little predator deserved a more fitting place to pass I thought
and so I lifted it.   
Felt the weightlessness of the task
What I held in my hand may as well have been nothing-but it was everything
It lay there
Cold and Gray
stretching not half the length of my finger
Warm and Brown
A bed of pine straw made the better palette for the once mighty mite in mortal repose thought I
than the  rough red clay road where time ran rudely 

Thinking in the moment of roads not taken and time wished away
 Expectations unfulfilled and remains of each day
The shrew's fate suddenly done there is no more no less than my own.


  1. Thanks as usual, for causing me to stop and ponder things that I might not have considered otherwise. Interesting that when we stop to think about the significance of other living or formerly living things, our own significance invariably fades a bit.

  2. This was a very interesting perspective. What is the underlying theme you desire to get across to the reader? It seems a little morbid....LOL. But still good. I feel like I learned a lot about this little creature.I think I would be scared of it - alive or dead- lol...but it's very descriptive. I can actually imagine what this little animal looks like. Different style for you but well written.