poetry and prose about place

black and amber signs

with 6 comments

When people and animals try to occupy the same space, sometimes misfortune or even tragedy occurs.  In New Brunswick, drivers constantly scan for deer and friends include a warning to ‘watch for moose’ in their goodbyes.

The tragedy works both ways.  A moose is a big animal – a collision will mangle a car and destroy a young life in an instant.  At the same time, a turtle killed on the highway is a loss for our ecology and our biodiversity.

The first step in preventing tragic encounters of vehicles with deer and moose and other wild life is the black and amber sign.  It warns us when we travel through the spaces animals consider home. 

In New Brunswick the fatalities involving moose have been so high, the Department of Transportation works constantly on a program of fencing and tunnels to keep cars and people separate and to provide safe passage for animals.

Often in our travels, my husband and I stop to rescue turtles from becoming road kill, carefully moving them off the road in the direction of their destination.  In Ontario, we were delighted to encounter Turtle Crossing signs.  These signs serve to warn and also to make people aware that the wetlands are home to many species.


black and amber


take these as warning

black on amber

time presses forward

no back-spin in the gyre

lost is lost

bubbles make no progress

against the river’s flow

five things to do

before evening

the least of these

to notice the shadow

climbs the wall

her hair tangles

on the pillow as she sleeps


remember the deer

how it fits itself to the hollow

of the hood of the car

and the moose matches pace

with the bike

prolonging collision


remember how the turtle withdraws its feet

refuses to move

just another

stone on the highway


© Jane Tims   2011

Written by jane tims

October 26, 2011 at 6:48 am

6 Responses

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  1. These signs definitely work on me- I slow down and look for the animals. I figure it’s only fair since they were here before I was, and I’m on their territory 🙂


    Watching Seasons

    October 27, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    • Hi. When I was a child, I thought the signs meant there was an animal standing there. waiting to be seen. I was usually disappointed and felt strongly that if I saw an animal elsewhere on the highway, the sign was in the wrong place! Jane


      jane tims

      October 28, 2011 at 7:13 am

  2. Last night I happened to be watching a program about the dangers facing red deer in the Swiss Alps. They’ve actually built green bridges over the highways for the deer to cross safely. It was strange seeing a deer peacefully nibbling on the vegetation while traffic was speeding by below him.


    Barbara Rodgers

    October 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    • Hi. The fences certainly work here… they let the deer and moose cross the road through under-road tunnels. Bringing them across over the traffic might make people pay attention (no out of sight out of mind!). Jane


      jane tims

      October 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm

  3. Nicely done Jane…the poem, pictures and drawing. Very original.



    October 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    • Hi. I wish I had your talent to convey how black those Tansy heads were in the ditch!!! Jane


      jane tims

      October 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm

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