So, as Michael and I were wending our way to our new accommodations near Buonconvento in Tuscany, we encountered a troubling situation. We had long since left the A1 and were driving on little, windy, hilly roads. Absolutely beautiful. Then, somewhere past San Quirico d’Orcia or, perhaps, somewhere past somewhere else, we found ourselves on a bridge high above something, maybe a stream, maybe just land, but high in the sky.
Another car in front of us on the bridge had stopped and had its flashers on because in the other lane was a porcupine, obviously perplexed about finding himself on this stretch of road. The poor bugger was sort of trotting around, backing up, going forward, peeking out between the railings, backing up again, etc. Of course, his spiky spines were all puffed out and, if I’d had my window down, I’m certain I could have heard them rattling. I did not take the attached photo; didn’t have the presence of mind to pull out my cameral and, in hindsight, it would have been ghoulish to do so.
Well, another car approached from the opposite direction and it stopped. Then the sad creature really got confused. He actually ran a short ways towards the new car, then reversed course and then he went back to the railing, peeked out and OVER HE WENT!!! And, I don’t mean his tail end slowly waddled out of sight . . . I mean he was GONE!!!
Do you think it was a case of a porcupine’s poor eyesight causing unforeseen consequences . . . as in splat? Do you think Italian porcupines can fly*? Do you think porcupines are capable of suicide . . . maybe he’d had a REALLY bad couple of days? Do you think there might have been a ledge just below the railing that we couldn’t see? I’d like to go back and check but I’m afraid of what I might find. OY! Traveling and the natural world can be very scary.
*I just read something that said the porcupines (istrice) found in Italy are African crested porcupines and that they can swim and, although they rarely do, climb trees. Nary a word about flying. Maybe he was just a show-off swimmer and was diving into the stream that may, or may not have been, so very far below. One can only hope.