Back when I was in high school, I dated a woman who lived out in the country. We were on the road to her house, returning from a date, and it seemed like every flying insect on earth had seen my headlights and wanted to die. Dead bugs littered the windshield the following day, and it took a while to get them all off.
Insect genocide was par for course back in 1977. A trip at night would mean bugs covering the windshield, grill, and bumper.
I’m unsure when it all changed, but I didn’t notice it until the Love Bugs died. Those were the clouds of black and orange insects that carpeted the front end of cars and trucks in the late 1900s.
Someone mentioned they hadn’t seen any roadkill snakes a few years ago. I got to think and realize it had been a while. For the last few years, I’ve been paying attention to what I have and have not seen on the road. There are fewer and fewer dead animals of all sorts.
From the bottom of the food change, death rises. When prey animals die out, the predators go with them. If we have wiped out the insects, the creatures who feed on them are likewise killed. Do not misunderstand me here; I do not believe the windshield is the culprit here, but an indicator. The road isn’t the problem.
A deer, a buck with a head full of antlers, rammed my truck back in 2021, the third of three deer strikes in my life. Deer are still plentiful in South Georgia because of conservation efforts. Yet as far as the environment as a whole, from bottom to top, the lack of effort or concern is telling.
Humans tend to view the rest of nature as products, toys, or pests. From people’s perspective, there is no value if you cannot eat it or make money from an animal’s life or death. So it stands to reason the overall population of living creatures has begun to drop noticeably. Yet, even given a warning the world we have created is unsuitable for life, we continue to live as if the death of our fellow inhabitants will not affect us. Whatever those things were we scraped from our windshields, they couldn’t hold any importance, could they? And those dead animals in the road, why bother worrying about them? They’re dead because they were in the way and no longer are now.
A man who once lived nearby remembered when vehicles were infrequent on the road closest to my house, and now traffic is almost constant. His father remembered the road before pavement, and his father traveled it by horse. Each generation sees less of the natural world than the one before, and each generation views their world and the loss they cannot see as normal.
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.