Fallen leaves danced in the breeze, tranquil thoughts of how their business dream came to life here. The crunching sound of dried leaves and grass filtered upwards as the couple strolled towards their new property. Inquiries in the nearby town came away with a mixture of what had happened to the man who lived on this land. They were not deterred. Stepping off the path to pick a dried seed pod, a snapping sound made her look down. Neither expected to see anything but a broken branch, and most certainly not bones blending in with the fall ground colours.
Some are bleached white, telling me they have been there for a while, a long while. Some may be fresh, and by that I mean there might still be shards of meat and sinew attached to the bones. Finding a fresh carcass is a reminder that there may be wild predators in the vicinity. Due diligence is a must under any circumstances when wandering the land and tromping through the bush.
Depending on the season, I may think further about what happened. Was the animal weak and predators took advantage of an easy meal? Was it a case of natural causes and carnivores helped themselves after the animal died? Is it hunting season? Is it open range? There are other signs to look for, too, but mostly, they are just bones left behind to decompose and disappear any way Mother Nature sees fit. Ideally, there may be a skull to help identify what type of animal I have come across. In any case, these are scenes I grew up seeing and they are, for the most part, just part of the circle of life.
I do find it interesting when there is only one or two bones. These don’t tell as much of a story because the puzzle is missing pieces. They could have been dragged here by smaller predators. Dropped from the sky by flying predators. And in some cases, moved by flooding.
They all have a story to tell, and I find it comforting to know that I am able to identify parts of some of those stories.