Alton Baker Trail on Ebay

Interesting thing about vultures…they don’t kill you. They wait for you to give up. Then all of a sudden, surprise surprise there they are. They aren’t impatient, they’ll wait. They really have nothing better to do. When you are the one they have set their sights on it happens differently than one would think. I know because they thought I was dying.

And why wouldn’t they think that I was dying? They have seen many people run across the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Many a person has attempted to cross the swamps, bogs, and quagmires that litter the south. People running from one thing or another, running from one place or another, always to where they believe it to be…better. Runaway slaves, moonshiners, hunters, trappers, and the like have tried to cross only to find that a gator, a cotton mouth, or a water moccasin has decided to change their plans. The vultures are there to um…clear the table.

When you meet the buzzards it isn’t what you expect. They don’t circle above you for days or hours letting you know that they are watching you. They are much more sly…this isn’t first time they have watched someone die. They know the path you are on and where you are going—they’ll meet you up the road a piece.

The wide open road will narrow, perhaps a stand of trees may cover the road, and there they will remain till you saunter by. You will find them perched, just waiting. They are eyeballing you. Looking to see how long it will be till you are dead. This is their life’s work, they can judge these things, it is how they live. Arrive to early, and the victim could cause them harm, too late, and no supper for them. The biggest and the best of them, have impeccable timing.

It is amazing how big these birds really are. It makes sense then that their sharp beaks work just like linemen’s shears simply snipping off the parts that they want. They aren’t particularly attractive, why would they need to be. You don’t ask a trash collector to wear a tuxedo, the carrion scrappers don’t waste resources on plumage.

I know these things because vultures have laid in wait for me. They have seen a lot of people and animals die trying to cross the bayous and swamps, I must have looked to them to be a person ready to die. I suppose they probably weren’t wrong…I could have been close to death? Running 25 miles a day for weeks in 100 degrees with 90 percent humidity…yeah I could see how they might think I was gonna die.

I suppose, aviary vultures are easier to deal with. We all meet vultures in our everyday lives. People waiting to pounce when you are near failure, near death. They don’t circle around when you are well, but they come when you are knocking at death’s door. Ready, oh so ready they are, to usher you through. Vultures, like people sometimes, expect you to fail—want you to fail. Interesting thing about vultures…they don’t kill you. They wait for you to give up. So what will you do?

Don’t give up. Only dead fish swim with the current. Do the opposite of what they expect. That is what I did down in the south, I treated vultures as friends. Treat all those who mean you no good with love. Do not run in fear from those who come to collect their tax, but run too them, embrace them. It is impossible to feel two conflicting emotions at the same time. You cannot be filled with love and overwhelmed by fear at the same time. So choose love, in this way, you are never a victim.