Downwind Man vs. Nature
I love nature, especially when it is not out to get me. Growing up on the farm, I was privileged to see a lot of forest and wildlife up close and personal. I learned that nature is not always friendly and is usually out to reclaim its territory from humans. We are only in control in our minds.
My wife and I are blessed to live on a wooded property in suburbia that features many varmints of various sizes, shapes and smells. Squirrels, chipmunks, muskrats, frogs, groundhogs, coyotes, skunks, mice, voles, snapping turtles, toads, crayfish, an occasional snake and hordes of insects want to call our place their “home”. I believe they hold secret meetings on a regular basis to plan the hostile takeover of our property.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I came home from church to discover that a rather large (seemingly healthy) 80 foot Shagbark Hickory tree had fallen across the driveway. I can’t prove it, but I strongly believe those varmints pushed the tree over in an attempt to block our access to the house. The tree landed on a corner of our little hauling trailer and just missed the Durango that it was hitched to. I wish I knew where to send the repair bill.
The tree is just the most recent example of us vs. nature…
The dizzying acrobatics of the squirrels playing chase through the oak trees diminish in cuteness when they rip down and destroy my wife’s birdfeeders in the dark of each night.
Mr. Woodchuck trenches holes under the shed, causing the concrete to shift, providing mass invasion opportunities for the mice and voles. I do not appreciate this example of fine team work.
A heavy, pungent odor envelopes the house following the dogs exit at the end of the night to take care of business…just what we want to be doing at bed time…cleaning rancid skunk smell from a stunned dog.
The red headed woodpecker doesn’t seem to know the difference between my cedar siding and the dead ash trees…or does he? I hope he has a constant migraine.
Two striped chipmunks (my dad, the farmer, calls them “gophers”) scurry from the woodpile to the grill to their hole/borrow that they carved under our patio (causing the bricks to cave in and sink) …The entire time, they “chit, chit”, taunting me and the dogs that fruitlessly chase them.
As I run early in the morning, a coyote trots down the middle of the subdivision ahead of me. Unperturbed but perhaps perplexed by the lumbering image of me following him, I swear that coyote smirks at me. I bet it is the same coyote that teases the dogs from the other side of the pond…just out of reach.
While the coyote befuddles the dogs, muskrats borrow hole upon hole literally under their feet into the pond bank, causing the sentiment to wash and fill in the pond.
And why did God invented ticks? They so love to bury their nasty heads in my flesh to feast and try to give me Lyme disease. And the leaches, horse flies, and mosquitoes for that matter...
It’s me vs. nature and there is no doubt in my mind who is winning the war on our little property. I can’t imagine the difficulties farmers face, on a much larger scale, as they battle nature to produce food. Thankfully, farmers have become so much better than me at co-existing with nature.
Send me some reinforcements…stat.