Other, Personal

The Goddess of the Side of the Road

She sits on the side of the road. Today it is a forest road. She is not lost or worn, she intends to be there.

There is a raccoon on the side of the road too. They are not together.

In fact, the raccoon does not seem the least concerned or bothered by her, as he would be by most humans. Or other animals for that matter.

For her part, she watches the raccoon in melancholic amusement. Slightly bored, but smiling none the less in appreciation of the creature’s unique raccoon-ness.

Cars zoom by on the road, but this is normal. Wilderness and trees are on either side for a long while. Civilization must take what it needs, and so cuts right through like a splinter.

The raccoon knows nothing of this injustice. Life has always included this road.

Little heart racing, the raccoon made ready. It had braved the road a couple times before, though it avoided the roaring black river as much as it could.

There was something on the other side. More scavenging maybe? The water was closer, perhaps? Or there were other raccoons with which to mingle? It could be any of innumerable convincing raccoon reasons. Regardless, crossing was necessary.

She watched as the raccoon hopped and paced along the side of the road. So close to the ground, it was difficult for the little creature to see any great distance. It waited for cars to zoom by. Judged the gaps as best it could.

“You can do it,” she whispered half-heartedly under her breath.

There were a couple of false starts. Darting forward, standing on his hind legs to see, then darting back as a car came zooming by. Eventually he had to commit. So eventually he did.

There was a loud screech, and time froze.

With a sigh, she hopped down from her perch on the side of the road. She walked barefoot to where the raccoon stood, still startled, in the middle of the road. The car was directly in front of him, still. His little heart was pounding out of his chest.

“You didn’t quite make it this time, bud,” she told him as she approached.

He looked from her to the car, and back, confused, hoping she might explain.

“Let me help you,” she said.

She reached down for him, and he held his little paws up to her eagerly. He suspected something bad had happened, and he welcomed her embrace. She lifted him into her arms and he cuddled into her shoulder.

“It’s ok,” she said as she pat his head. “Come on, you don’t need to be here for the rest of it.”

As she carried him, he felt comfort wash over him, and his heart calmed. He remembered his den, his mate, and kits. He felt the comfort of home.

She walked him to the other side of the road before setting him back down. By then he was calm again. He turned, and considered a moment that he might cross the road again.

She rolled her eyes, and with a wry smile gave his rump a tap with her foot. Mildly startled, he sauntered slowly off into the woods. Surprisingly, the raccoon could smell his mother on this side of the road. It had been years since he had seen her, but he remembered. He had forgotten why he had wanted to cross to begin with, but decided it was good to be on this side.

Behind the raccoon, time resumed. Things happened, but they were not important anymore.

“Well, one way or the other, he made it to the other side,” she made her melancholy joke not for the first, or even thousandth time. It was a joke the goddess of the side of the road had constant cause to make.

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