While we are on the road, we all see many animals who have been killed by cars. In her article "Picking Up Roadkill," Susan Tweit suggests a beautifully mindful act. When she sees an animal who has been killed, she stops, and, with the shovel she keeps in her car for such occasions, lifts the body off of the road. By doing this, she saves the lives of birds and others who might otherwise get hit themselves while eating the carrion. More than that, Susan is showing respect, honoring the body of the departed spirit, and giving it back to the earth. No one else can run over it again and further desecrate the body. It is now safe and ready to finish its earthly cycle in peace.

As a child, I was always horrified by the dead animals on the roads. The longer the trip, the more we would see. It always hurt to see how utterly disregarded their bodies were. If they had been human bodies, all traffic would have stopped. Many rituals would have followed as the body was taken from road to burial plot. Yet for the animals, there was no sign of care or concern.

After I read Susan's article, I put a shovel in my car. I try to leave a little earlier for meetings now, just in case some dear relative of yours and mine has died on the road and needs a respectful ritual and a blessing to send his or her spirit on its way. Thus, he or she will know that someone was willing to bear witness to his or her death and deem it a significant event — a loss for us and a gain for heaven.

It's especially important to communicate with the spirit of the animal. Often, with people and animals, when a death is sudden and unexpected, the spirit is confused about what happened and needs guidance. It's very helpful to tell the spirit what has transpired and to help it to let go of earthly life and go toward the Light of Love.

Judy Carman in Peace to All Beings