I cried at work today. Over a vole. I cried over a rodent. But it was dying, an unlucky victim of the roto-tiller, which had recently cleaned up the rows between the strawberry beds. I found him sitting in the soft, overturned soil, looking like he was slouched on a couch. But he wasn’t.
With my trowel, I picked him up and set him on a bed of weeds in a bucket. I carried the bucket to the edge of the woods and put him down in the shade, a feeble attempt at what I don’t know. The blades of the roto-tiller had taken out most of his back. No amount of ibuprofin, physical therapy, vitamin E, or any combination thereof would bring him back from this one. I tried to gingerly arrange his body into a shape that nature had intended for him, but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything more. I reluctantly walked away.
As I sat back down in the strawberries, I thought about the little thing laying in the shade, his vole chest no doubt still heaving up and down. When Ward came by to set about working, I told him what I’d found. We sat there quietly for a few minutes before I showed him the spot, at the end of the bed, at the edge of the woods. Then I ran off like a little girl, already crying, not wanting to hear the sound of it.