I wonder how many creatures Iíve killed in the five years Iíve lived out here in the country. I can remember one that I killed on purpose, with the blunt side of a shovel, but that was a rat who had decided to live under the camellia bush just outside my back door. Sometimes desperation overwhelms compassion.
And of course, I never met an ant that I thought had the right to share my house with me. If theyíd just stay outside and run back and forth and up and down, I wouldnít have a problem. Spiders, on the other hand, are usually safe with me. Iíve flushed a few, but only when there was no alternative. Most of the time I relocate them.
As I was walking outside to mow this afternoon, I saw a flash of a small creature leaping through the high grass in my garden. It was about the size of a lizard, but it didnít move like one. It moved like a rodent, maybe a baby mouse. I poked around in the bushes to see if I could identify it, and while I was doing that I noticed another one (its brother or sister, I assume) leaping out of sight. I still donít know what they were, but if there are many of them living in the high grass, surely some have been cut down by the mower.
Then as I was mowing the center strip of the driveway, I ran over a snake. This was a big one, too, compared to the others Iíve seen. It might have been three feet long, stretched out. Why it just lay there and let me run over it I donít know. But I only went over it with part of a wheel before I saw it and backed off. The blade never came close to it. It slithered off under the fence and out of the way, still in no particular hurry. I donít think Iíve actually killed any snakes. I would have noticed. But they seem to be asking for it.
Yesterday I found another dead gopher, just lying by the side of the driveway. I know I didnít kill it, because it wasnít flattened by my car and I would have known if Iíd done it any other way. There was a time when I tried to flush them out. When I first moved in, I would often stand with the hose poked into one of their holes. I would gladly have drowned them all, but it did me no good whatsoever, and eventually I gave up and decided to let them dig up my yard to their tiny heartsí content. Which is what they have done, for four years now.