Monday, March 15, 2010

Exposed, Returning to the Earth

As this amazing -- dare I say it -- early Spring continues here in Marquette, the warm weather has almost completely obliterated most of the snow on the ground. What remains are dirty snowbanks and the remnants of deep drifts, but even those are melting little by little every day. For the next week -- at least -- the skies will be sunny, which will lead only to more melting and less snow. Birds are loving this weather; they're all very vocal. The crows have been congregating around our apartment complex, and they're wonderfully loud right now. Even the ring-billed gulls are back on Picnic Rocks, claiming the spots for their nests.

I was back at the bog yesterday, and was amazed to find that very little snow remained -- so little, in fact, that the skeletons of both January does have made full contact with the ground. It was a bit of a treat to see First January Deer: her skeleton, though the limbs were scattered, was almost entirely present; two of her legs that I'd not seen due to the snow were easily findable, and they were quite a ways away from the rest of the skeleton.

It's amazing how dry the ground is already. First January Deer was quite exposed, and I felt a little nervous about that -- the rotary club cleans the bog in the spring (when, I don't know) and I didn't want her to end up in the dumpster like last year's April Deer. Still, I moved on, completely soaked my feet in some standing water disguised by slushy snow, and checked on Second January Deer.

Her skeleton was less scattered, though three legs were absent entirely. The ribcage looked so perfect, resting at the base of a mossy tree, with the sunlight streaming through and illuminating her bones. I found a scapula nearby, and plenty of fur on the ground, where I'm guessing the initial kill happened. I was less concerned about someone throwing away this skeleton, as it lies in a far more sheltered, shady area.

Still, the location of First January Deer was bothering me. On one hand, I felt like it wasn't my place to move her skeleton and decide its fate; on the other hand, moving a skeleton to someplace safer is far less evil than throwing it away like trash, as the rotary club (or any casual bog-walker) is known to do. Steph and I returned to the bog later that afternoon, and together we transported First January Deer's skeleton to a more sheltered place nearby. This new location, in the late spring and summer, has waist-high grass and is infested with ticks... I doubt anyone will disturb the skeleton now. Steph recorded the action:


  1. Yeah, the ticks will keep you out of there, too!

  2. You guys should make little signs tacked to little posts to put next to the skeletons, saying something to the effect that they are NOT trash & should be left undisturbed to return to the earth.

  3. Hmm.. that's a pretty good idea! I'll have to look into what kind of materials I could use to make such a thing. It's pretty sad when your average person doesn't realize a skeleton is just as much a part of this Earth as a tree or a rock.