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Farewell, Squashed Weasel

I try not to leave the peaceful bubble of Hawthorn Farm. But I started driving neighbor kids to school, which threads me through the Tesla-laden streets of Bellevue. Through the stoplights and paving projects and new buildings and mattress sales.

This is insanity.

I wince when I think about how much pollution driving causes, and I shrivel inside when I see new apartments and overpasses. I'm even more concerned about something I don't see.

Squashed weasels.

I used to call late May and early June "The Moon of the Squashed Weasel" because I saw so many of them smashed along the road. Two or three per mile was not uncommon. I'm not sure of how that ties into weasel biology, but all the ones I examined were male. This facet of weasel life wasn't any of my business, I guess, except for seeing little piles of brown fur along the white line of the road.

I haven't seen a single dead weasel this year, despite many hours behind the wheel. Where have they gone? If there aren't dead ones, there probably aren't a lot of live ones, either. The farm used to get regular springtime visits from local weasels. Daniel and I were standing on the front porch when we watched a handsome male long-tailed weasel bound past the garage door and head right for us. We stood still, and he ducked underneath the porch. Half a second later, eight big rats shot out from under our feet.

I never wish for animals to get killed on the road. What a useless death. But a lack of squashed weasels points to a greater fraying of the ecosystem. If our forest can't support local predators, those eight rats would still be living the good life under the front porch. I haven't seen a weasel in years, dead or alive.

I'm worried when I see squashed weasels, and I'm even more worried when I don't. Look around and see what signs of ecological fraying are visible to you. The signs are there. Noticing is the first step to solving them.

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