Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Ein Gedi Botanic Garden
Seek the serenity of a Judean Desert sky in Autumn at the Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kipod Crossing

June 24, 2014 - Arad is the kind of town where drivers stop their vehicles for a kipod – a nondescript little Negev hedgehog you can barely spot in blinding light, let alone at dusk.

I first discovered this salient fact about five years ago while driving my friend Jennifer’s car down the main drag. It was late and I was tired, and Jen was in the passenger's seat. We were coming back from the clinic and chatting amiably until suddenly the fancy white SUV in front of us just stopped without warning.

I slammed on the brakes, giving thanks to Everything Above that we both had our seatbelts on. We both wondered what the hell possessed the driver in front of us to do that.

Peering out into the darkness, I could see nothing of interest. But the driver seemed to be waiting patiently.

Obviously, we waited too.

And then I saw it: a tiny little round grey bundle of joy with prickles sticking out all over, trundling as quickly as he could across the road.

A kipod.  Photo credit: Courtesy, http://teva.co.il 

He didn’t dawdle, after all. He didn’t stop and look around and say, like some cats seem to do, “Well, what’s your problem, buddy?” No. But due to his tiny size and the relative width of the ‘crosswalk’ he had to travel, it was quite a hike. 

For him, anyway.

I thought it was an aberration that night, but since that time I have watched time and again as drivers in Arad stop to allow cats, dogs, kittens and yes, kipods, the right of way in crossing the street. 

Uh.... oh yeah. Humans too, of course. In fact, America could take a lesson from what goes on in this town. Every driver stops for everyone and anything. Almost always.

But it’s gotten to the point that some people don’t even bother to look both ways before stepping out into the street. That’s not smart, of course. In fact, it’s downright stupid.

One young mother paid for it with her life a couple of months ago, having walked right out into the street at night wearing dark clothing -- and pushing a baby carriage, no less. It was a terrible tragedy. The baby did survive. Her grieving husband married her sister just a few weeks later, giving the baby a new mother, one with whom she felt close and familiar.

Nevertheless, it is not wise to rely on miracles and one is always cautioned to remember that it is best to cross at the crosswalk. 

Even in Arad, even at night, and even if you are a kipod.

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