a partridge standing on the track
...Thoreau's Journal: 12-Apr-1858

Returning on the railroad, the noon train down passed us opposite the old maid Hosmer’s house. In the woods just this side, we came upon a partridge standing on the track, between the rails over which the cars had just passed. She had evidently been run down, but, though a few small feathers were scattered along for a dozen rods beyond her, and she looked a little ruffled, she was apparently more disturbed in mind than body. I took her up and carried her one side to a safer place. At first she made no resistance, but at length fluttered out of my hands and ran two or three feet. I had to take her up again and carry and drive her further off, and left her standing with head erect as at first, as if beside herself. She was not lame, and I suspect no wing was broken. I did not suspect that this swift wild bird was ever run down by the cars. We have an account in the newspapers of every cow and calf that is run over, but not of the various wild creatures who meet with that accident. It may be many generations before the partridges learn to give the cars a sufficiently wide berth.


Geoff Wisner said...

This is just one example of the many times that Thoreau "took up" a wild animal. Often he used his handkerchief, which must have been large and sturdy: http://bit.ly/bww1mD

michael jameson said...

its something inside us that makes care about a small wounded animal or an unattended young bird or animal, i myself have brought home many as a child,ive made boxes and bedding and gathered food,and then my father would find it and i would have to take it back to where i found it to let nature take its course,i did this with tears in my eyes as if i was giving up my pet or child,it seemed as if it was my responsibility to care and take care of the creature,some lessons are very hard to learn at a young age. michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com

AuthorMegNorth said...

Poor Henry. Can't you just see him today? I always feel ashamed and sad when I see roadkill. He'd hate that we just hit animals and keep going 60 mph.