Buzzard Baiting on the Bay
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" It's always nice to return from a restorative vacation! Here we are, safe, sound, and sunburnt.
Have you ever been bored to tears as some friend or relative talks you to death about their fancy vacation in the Canadian Rockies, or the rain forests of Costa Rica, or the busy boulevards of Paris? I have. Furthermore, I know that's not why you come here to visit "The Gods Are Bored."
Therefore I will tell you the highlight of my vacation and leave it at that.
Readers, I plucked a dead possum off the shoulder of Maryland Route 33, about midway between St. Michaels and Tilghman Island.
It was a premium possum, fully grown and well-fleshed, with a tail a foot long or more. The best part was that, while the thing was really most sincerely dead, it bore none of the signs of trauma usually associated with high-speed roadkill. In other words, its innards were still in.
As the faeries would have it, I had a thick plastic shopping bag in my trunk, exactly large enough to accommodate a possum carcass. Imagine that! So I grabbed this fresh treat by the tale, shoved it in the bag, and drove on.
My family has been visiting the same Bed & Breakfast for more than 10 years now. It's on a point of land stretching into the mighty Chesapeake. The view is lovely. At night we can see the lights of the Bay Bridge, twinkling on the far side of Kent Island.
This point of land, called Wade's Point, is reached by a country road that shoots straight through very large meadows that have mostly grown up in natural vegetation. Before one reaches the B&B, there's a small farmhouse and a barn. The people who live in the farmhouse were away on vacation.
I left the possum carcass just beyond the barn. This was at 9:15 in the morning.
A busy day ensued. Daughters Heir and Spare and I went kayaking (hence the sunburn). Then we took the Oxford-Bellevue Faerie ... ooops ... Ferry ... over to Oxford for ice cream.
While we were still kayaking, I saw several buzzards hovering over Wade's Point. When we returned in the evening, two turkey vultures flapped into the sky as I got near the barn.
It was 5:15 p.m. All that remained of the roadkill possum was a pile of fur, the bones of the spine, and one leg bone that had been picked clean. A few disappointed flies hovered over these remains, no doubt feeling cheated of a prize.
I was flabbergasted. In about eight hours, a few vultures had scoured a 15-pound possum right down to a few bones. Not for naught are they called "The Golden Purifier." That corpse didn't even have time to get stinky.
This is the best part. Apparently there'd been some squabbling over the meat, as there always is when vultures find food. Spare and I collected a half dozen incredibly soft white tufts of buzzard down from the near vicinity of the feast. Those tufts are now securely placed in my purse, where they will no doubt prove a powerful antidote to stress on the new job.
I can't wait to see the look on the face of the assistant principal when he walks into my classroom and finds me stroking my cheek with my special vacation souvenir -- buzzard fluff. Don't be surprised if I'm promoted early and often.