Friday, August 28, 2009

The hazards are different here...

Over the years, I’ve learned that the road hazards associated with living in the woods are different from those of suburbia. Falling or fallen trees can appear out of nowhere. So can deer, which are usually worse than the tree issue because they move. Squirrels and rabbits dart across the road, zigzagging like mad. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost hit one, despite a panic-braking stop.

Hazards like snapping turtles or box turtles are of a different class. With those, I usually stop the car and either move them or try to lure them off the road. Then, the hazard is that some other driver, rounding a curve or coming down one of Pennsylvania’s ever-present hills, isn’t paying attention and doesn’t stop for me. Of course, where I live, it’s easy to go 20-30 minutes without another car passing by, but still, people who live in rural areas don’t pay attention while driving to any greater degree than anyone else.

Today, my hazard was these wild turkeys. I was past the forest and into rural lands by about a quarter of a mile when I crested a hill and—there they were. I hit the brakes and let them slowly amble across the road. They were in no hurry. They gave a look as though I was at fault for disturbing them.

A man I used to work with, who was a dedicated turkey hunter, once told me that turkeys had the rare ability to seem like the smartest animal in the woods—and the dumbest. I’m not sure which category this morning’s episode falls into.

10 comments:

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

The turkey gang up at Hasty hangs out in the road so much, we hear cars honking at them to get them to move! I've heard they are particularly caging during hunting season. These guys must carry iPhones with calendars to know it isn't turkey season!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Driving in the boonies does have its challenges—critters on the road, limbs, trees, rocks, an overnight washout, hedge apples and walnuts that decode to fall just as your vehicle passes underneath…and, yup, wild turkeys.

As to whether tour latest encounter was a case of them being dumb or smart (and I fully agree they can be both) I guess it depends on which side of the equation you put yourself. Were you the turkeys' friend or fool? Did you stop out of kindness…or play directly into their twisted turkey sense if humor? Think about it…

And then tell me—and I promise it will be our secret.

am said...

Catching up with your blog. Continuing to enjoy seeing the beauty of rural Pennsylvania through your eyes. Especially like the turkeys and the great spangled fritillary.

Cathy said...

Yes, turkeys think they own the road. LOL

Today, couple the young ones almost got clipped because the other driver didn't slow down.

I don't about you but I had nother rainy day here.

Pablo said...

The turkeys in my part of the world are extremely nervous, not letting us get anywhere near them, even in the truck, before the dart into the woods. When I drive on my road, they will dart from the neighbor's field, across the road in front of me, and then into the woods. In that case they get closer to me to get farther from me. Smart? Dumb? Both?

Carolyn H said...

Lynne: A day after I took this photo I saw 6 of them in roughly the same place, still stopping traffic.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I have no idea if I played into a twisted sense of turkey play or not. I'm starting to think these turkey belong on the dumb side of the equation, though.

Carolyn h.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: Sometimes drivers ARE dumber than turkeys. Geez, hitting a turkey is NOT something I'd want to do with my car.

Carolyn

Carolyn H said...

Pablo: I've certainly seen the extremely wary turkeys, too. These weren't. Not sure why.

Carolyn H.

Carolyn H said...

am: Thanks! I love frittilaries. Funny, how they don't get near the attention that monarchs and swallowtails, too.

Carolyn H.