a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fall sick in Pennsylvania

It’s autumn in Southwestern Pennsylvania and time to welcome the whitetail deer into our vehicle headlights. This is deer rut season, when buck run their breeding competition for a suitable mate. The men deer lose all sense of their summer passiveness as they chase down a female to cuddle before the winter freeze arrives.

But sadly, this annual ritual leads to slaughter along unfenced highways, especially Interstate 70, where these animals succumb in large numbers to the steady flow of big rigs and cars that compete for the four-lane highway. The resulting deer blood bath is disgusting, one that should require a periodic wash-down of the highway to remove the carnage.

This is Pennsylvania, where it's too much to ask for a smile from the snuff-rubber behind the wheel of a rusting white Ford pickup truck who always flips me the bird for pulling onto I-70 and into his path to Greene County.

If you are heading here to "oh and awe" over the tree leaves as they turn, each fall, to brilliant shades of red, yellow, orange and brown, consider bringing a barf bag if you follow I-70 to this neck of the woods.

(Caption: OK - that is not a whitetail deer in the leather postcard, above, dating to the late 1800s but you have to admit that it's cool.)

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