I was answering my e-mail yesterday afternoon, and looked out my office window. Notice anything?
Yes, I know something’s been eating my neighbor’s arbor vitae, or the first four feet of it, anyway. It makes it look like Dr Suess lives next door. No, not that. Look closer.
Yes, I see the ghost of the trench the Verizon Fios installation left in my yard. Grass seed is almost $10.00 for a bag that would seed every Fios installation in Southeast Massachusetts. Why would the trenching people bring some of that with them? No that’s not it. All right, I’ll go over to a window without a screen to block the view. But I’ll have to get up from my desk, and that makes me cranky when I’ve plopped there after a day hunching over a saw.
Do you know what an osprey is? It’s like an eagle that lives at the shore. It’s white and black, and it’s huge. It’s a solitary beast, more or less. It likes to grab fish out of the ocean. You’re supposed to get jazzed if you see one soaring overhead.
I had five of them in my yard at one time last week. They all eventually landed in the tall pines, and it looked like there was a bunch of grade schoolers pole-sitting in my yard.
We get turtles the size of hubcaps, and cute little box turtles too. I was getting the mail once a few years ago, when I saw a woman who had stopped her car in front of my house and was instructing her grade school daughter to pick up a snapping turtle the size of a Thanksgiving Turkey Platter that was in the road. She wanted to “save” it. People have interesting ideas about how fragile nature is, and what the appropriate attitude is to take towards it most of the time. I can assure you that that snapping turtle would have clawed the beejezuz out of that little girl and maybe taken off the end of a finger if I hadn’t been there to intervene. They’re gila monsters in a tank, not Disney characters, lady. Do you send your daughter out in the road to shoo the drifters away, too?
We’ve had coyotes in packs. Turkeys in flocks. Phalanxes of turtles. Deer in the same quantities and with the same appetites and regard for private property as teenagers at a mall. A rabid baby skunk living under our back step. Owls. Bats like luftwaffe squadrons every night. A dozen baby squirrels living in the attic. I have to remove three foot trees from my gutters twice a year. My two year old son was trying to feed the birds out back and a field mouse ran out of the shrubs and sat on his foot and ate the seeds. We’re only interested in how many gold finches are in the yard.
The deer are just garden pests here. The mosquitoes are biblical in size and quantity. A 75 foot tall pine is a weed. The peepers sound like a 747 warming up on the runway in the spring. Our little children can’t play alone in the yard, but not because some drifter might get them. A drifter would never even make it half way up the driveway before the horseflies would get them.
Lenin sat in an office and thought he knew all about how the farmers should order their affairs, even though he had never met one. I read the paper and am told by apartment dwellers that kayak now and again that nature is a delicate affair, and could be snuffed out at any second, wholesale. I’ve got news for the environmental crowd. If I didn’t mow my lawn for three weeks, no one would ever know what happened to us. We’d be pulled to pieces and subsumed.
Nature always looks best on TV – Homer Simpson