In his ''Science and Nature'' column this week on Page C4, Robert Ungerer writes about his experiences with road kill.
I know it sounds gross, but take a look at it - he has learned a lot about animals over the years through close encounters on the side of the road, and he encourages you to consider doing the same ... if you have the stomach for it.
Bob also tells a tale of passing motorists stopping to check on him while he is by the side of the road, examining a find. I had to laugh when I read that portion of the column, because it reminded me of a conversation I'd had with friends just days earlier.
I stop by the side of the road regularly during my adventures - not to examine or gather road kill, mind you, but to find a magnetic keyholder hidden on a guardrail or take a photo of a road sign. You know, something normal.
Often, passing motorists will stop and ask if I am OK. Concerned citizens want to know if I've been in an accident, if my car is broken down, or if I'm out of gas. Sure, a lot of people just zip by without even touching their brakes, but it is nice to know there are still kind souls in the world worried about their fellow man.
On Facebook earlier this week, a friend shared a memory about how he used to drive up to the end of a local dead-end road and rest there - a relaxing spot to read a book. He mentioned how on one afternoon, two different people drove up to the end of the road to ''scope (him) out.'' One slowed and stopped, he said, and the couple inside drove away suspiciously when he reported to them that he was just reading.
I added to the conversation with a pair of encounters I had earlier this month while I was stopped on the side of roads. One man was certain I was illegally fishing (despite my lack of a pole), while a second car that stopped contained people looking for a lost dog who were hoping I'd stopped because I'd seen it. No such luck.
In a fast-paced world, it seems to take people by surprise when you tell them you've stopped your car in the middle of nowhere just for leisure. I have nothing better to do right now. I just want to enjoy the outdoors and take my time getting home.
But when Bob Ungerer writes about stopping by the side of the road to collect deer bones in a cardboard box, that's a little too far-fetched for even me. That's when I'd stop my car and ask what he is up to.
It's all in the name of science, I know. But I'd still look him suspiciously as I drove away.