I moved to a minuscule town of 333 people about a year and a half ago. When I moved here it had nothing except a post office, a bank, a hair salon and a paint shop. Over the last year the bank closed, the salon shut down and I hear they are closing the post office.
The reason I moved here is a long story and I don’t have time to explain right now but in short: I own my house free and clear and I’m only 25 miles from the city.
As you may or may not know; I #run and ride bike. When I moved here I instantly fell in love with the area. Though it is 25 miles from the city, it is 25 mile deep in the woods and hills surrounded by twisty tree covered lanes, lush fields and endless streams. You simply cannot find a more beautiful place to run or ride your bike in all of #Kentucky.
Me being ambitious as I am, I decided that everyone needed to ride their bikes here. Sure #Lexington has their Thoroughbred farms and plank fencing but #Sadieville has more! We have barbed wire and vines that suffocate trees. We have goat farms (with goats that constantly need rescuing) and possum (some alive) and deer! Once over a 6 mile stretch of road I spotted 18 white tailed deer.
So I decided to create my own #Bike Tour. After a year in the making the Sadie’hill’ Bike tour is set to go off this coming Saturday. Over the last couple of weeks my husband, Danny, and I have been out on our bikes marking the roads for the tour.
Last week we were marking the 37 mile route, me with a backpack on carrying 4 cans of spray paint and 5 different stencils. As we started out up a particularly steep climb a Red Tailed Hawk took a couple leaps from the grass toward us. His wing span was quite impressive, he captured our attention as we both came to a stop in awe of him.
We dismounted our bikes to get a better look. One of his wings dangled useless from his side. He stared at us, daring us to look away first. Then he hopped into the brush and hid.
Luckily for us we had spray paint. I took out my can of florescent orange paint and sprayed a big X on the grass where we saw him last with the intention to return with the car.
When we returned an hour later Danny set out into the woods to look for the hawk. I unloaded the cage and a towel, grabbed my single leather glove (I couldn’t find the other one to save my life…or my hand).
“I can’t find him.”
We looked everywhere. The amazing creature was young and his colors were designed to blend in with his surroundings, it would take some serious luck to find him at this point. We were just ready to give up our search.
Then I heard my husband.
“Hey. Babe. He’s right here.”
I told my Danny to “keep an eye on him but don’t move in yet”, then I grabbed the cage and the towel to bring them closer. When I returned we each went to opposite corners and slowly moved in on the confused, yet ever staring, creature.
“You are insane. I would never get anywhere close to that thing. Look at the way he’s staring at you. He wants to kill you.”
I move in on the hawk, he steps onto his limp wing and rolls onto his back, never taking his eyes off of me. I lay my towel over him, reach my hand under his back and use my gloved hand to pull his wings into his body. I cradle him in my hands like a football; he can’t weigh more than a couple pounds.
As I pull him closer to my body and start heading over to the cage my husband says the most romantic words I’ve heard in a long time.
“You are the coolest person I know.”
I don’t know what it is about that statement, it kind of makes me worry that he doesn’t know anyone. But that made my day. Normally rescuing an #animal is reward enough for me, but having my husband think I’m cool, well that’s just the shit.
End Note: Broadbent Wildlife Sanctuary came to my house the next day to pick up the Red Tailed Hawk. I was happy that the little guy made it through the night, that’s the biggest hurdle when it comes to a wild animal surviving trauma. The man got out of the vehicle and we instantly recognized each other. He was the man that came to pick up the baby possums I rescued just a couple months ago. I have since put Broadbent #Wildlife Sanctuary in my phone; it is really nice having a place that so readily responds to an animal in need.
‘The Georgetown Run Club and Intellectual Society’ Undergoes a Name Change
The Georgetown Run Club and Intellectual Society is undergoing another name change. It was only a few years ago that we decided to add “and Intellectual Society” to the end; since we are all so smart and eclectic and talk about super amazing things. Now we are changing again.
It was Martha’s idea. Martha has been in The Georgetown #Run Club and Intellectual Society for about 2 years now. But before she was part of the club, she was my #biking partner. Martha is like a mother figure to me, though my mother would have been 67 this year and Martha is in her young fifties. She is the happiest person I’ve ever met. You know the type, always smiling, even when she feels like crying. She is a #hero to me and to countless other pavilion goers that see her busting her butt on the elliptical and in the pool every week.
Martha taught me to ride a bike. Well, she taught me to ride a ‘road’ bike. She took me from a shy, brake-squeezing peddler to a confident cruiser in the span of a year. We ride twice a week in the wee hours of the morning, just her and I. We talk about life and vent all our concerns, after a couple hours we always part ways feeling a heck of a lot better for the time we spent together.
Martha joined the run club as a #newbie #runner. She struggled with issues on and off. She was almost ready to do a half marathon when her first injury occurred: she fractured her foot falling off a step. Once she recovered from that she was doing alright until her dog took her for a walk one day and ruined her shoulder. She recovered from that surgery like a champ. Somewhere along the way though, while getting back into running, she began to have issues with her heals. Every time she ran, she wouldn’t be able to walk the next day.
Now Martha loves the Run Club, but she didn’t feel right showing up and not being able to run. She felt like she wasn’t part of the club anymore. On a ride this weekend she made a request: “Can we rename the run club?” What a great idea! The Georgetown Run and Walk Club and #Intellectual Society, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but that’s okay. We have a lot of people in our club who walk, why not recognize them!
Well, this Monday Martha and I went out for our usual ride. It was wonderful. Martha always mentions how lucky she is to be able to ride bike and enjoy the beautiful mornings in northern Scott County. But this Monday, was different. After parting ways, Martha headed home on her bike to her house and so did I. I made it home, but poor Martha…she didn’t.
About 4 miles from her house she was charged by a dog. The dog hit her front wheel and sent her flying. She landed hard on the ground, breaking her pelvis. Her husband called me from the hospital explaining what happened. I was dumbfounded. She was so strong and happy just an hour before, now she was in the hospital unable to move, she’d have to use a walker and wouldn’t be back to herself for three long months.
I knew this would be hard for Martha; she is one of those people that multitasks and is always moving. She is either biking or #swimming or working in the #garden, caring for her parents, playing her #piano, canning tomatoes; always something.
It didn’t surprise me when I got a text from her husband. He was with her at the hospital and I was sitting at home preparing an email to go out to the run club. I was going to tell everyone about Martha and arrange for all of us to go visit her at the hospital on Tuesday night. The Text simply read: Martha wants to know if we can change the name of the run club again. She wants it to be called: The Georgetown Run and ‘Walker’ Club and Intellectual Society.
No Problem Martha, you just get better soon.
BTW: #Dog owners are responsible for injury caused by their dog whether it be from a bike or an accident caused by them. The ower of the dog that caused this accident had been spoken to many times about her dog and it chasing bikers. The owner blew-off the complaints, telling us that the dog was harmless. That owner (and her homeowners insurance) is now responsible for Martha’s bills and most likely a settlement. Martha spent over a week in the hospital and will have 3 months of rehap.
Being the ‘back roads traveler’ that I am, I have made it clear that I delight in the beauty of my surroundings, especially the #wildlife. There is however, another side to these roads…a darker side…the wild death.
I often ponder the image of a Far Side #Comic, not one that has ever existed but rather one of my own creation. In the cartoon there is a convertible speeding down a road. The driver of the car is a deer in sun glasses, riding shot-gun is a raccoon flicking a cigarette out, in the back there is a squirrel and a possum with big grins and hair wild with wind. On the sides of the road are dead humans of all ages in different stages of decomposition, flattened, with tire tracks through them.
Being on foot or #bike on these back country roads one stumbles (quite literally unfortunately) upon all forms of dead little creatures. They range from the extremely sick and twisted headless dear to the average everyday leather pouch looking leftovers of last month’s possum. And of course, everything in between.
Last October found me and my family visiting a #Revolutionary #War reenactment at Fort Boonsboro. The family and I stood fascinated as an actor showed us how to skin and tan our very own deer hide. So as a #homeschool mom I was not at all surprised to hear my daughter say, ‘mom, if you find a dead dear on your run today will you bring it home so we can skin it?’
Much to my delight, a large snake met is fate near the end of one of my #runs and I cheerfully brought it to my children for approval. They were let down; this wasn’t the buck they had imagined. But after some convincing, I managed to get an audience. I carefully skinned the #snake with my husband’s fillet knife which was last year’s Christmas gift from my sister. Finally we found a use for it! The kids were sporting exited expressions as I pointed out the little guys stomach and ribs. The expressions faded to horror as the days went on and scent of rotting flesh hung in the air on my porch. The nice actor never warned me about that. Ultimately the snake skin was moved farther and farther from the porch as the decaying process resolved itself…so far that we never saw it again.
During deer #hunting season it seemed every dog I saw was guarding his own piece of the kill. Most of the dogs just warned me with their eyes as I passed and they gnawed on their bone. One particularly playful dog however simply could not let me pass without joining me for a romp. So he snatched up his deer leg and brought it along. As we ran down the road side by side I was being kicked in the butt by a deer leg. It was rather strange.
Recently on an out-and-back run down my favorite road I spotted a perfect deer skull in the ditch. The recent rains had evidently washed it down the embankment for me to discover. A few yards farther down the road I noticed a really nice deer leg. I made it to my turnaround and ran back with extra spring in my step. As I approached the leg I barely stopped, just reached down and scooped it up mid stride. The skull took a little longer. With a leg in one hand and the skull in the other I loped the last mile and a half home with a strange imbalance. As cars passed I smiled as if to say, ‘I know! Aren’t they AWESOME!’
When I arrived home I gently placed the deer leg and #skull next to the cat skull, bird skull and cow skull on my porch. I pushed my door open and found my kids eating breakfast with my husband at the table. As usual they asked how my run was. I gave them a big grin and said, ‘hurry up and eat kids, it’s time for science class!’
Wild Death (published in the Georgetown News Graphic Column, 2011)