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.