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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Coming Disaster, A Precautionary Tale.

There was an article in a scholarly journal recently indicating that insects, spiders, mammals, in fact most species that are not human evolve more quickly. The assertion was generational influence operates on a fairly static principal, and since these “lower species” have a much shorter life span the influence is accelerated. The members who live, and reproduce create more robust, elusive, and able offspring.

No matter how you feel about climate change meteorological evidence proves that winters have been milder, and summers warmer. One of the effects of this climate change is the increased opportunity for reproduction. All of the sudden species are racing down the evolutionary highway.

Yesterday, my friend, John, was working in the dock of our building. He came across a huge spider. Even John found the size of this spider to be unnerving, and he doesn’t panic easily. He captured the spider in something sturdy, and tossed the beast outside.

“It turned around and looked at me, and I swear it gave me the finger.” He said. “It made me a little mad, but it was so big, and looked so angry I decided to let it go.”

I don’t blame him.

Today, I stopped to get gas. There were a couple of birds bouncing around on the concrete pad of the gas station. Dusty, brown birds, hopping closer and then retreating on the harsh gray concrete, looking at me, then bouncing up on the grass. They would start over again, coming to within a few feet of my car, then hopping away. Stupid birds, I thought.

Since I was dangerously close to getting to work early I decided to stop and get a cup of coffee. There was a Tim Horton’s right on the way. Coffee for me, and some donuts for my associates, bar keep.

As I walked back to my car, a cup of coffee, and box of donuts a wonderful companion to my little stroll, I saw two birds right by my car. They looked like the same birds! One of them flew up and came to rest on the railing of the cargo carrier on top of my car. He looked at me, black, pupil less eyes flashing, anger, resentment and contempt.  It was a little unnerving.

“What are you doing?” I asked, trying to sound intimidating.

The other bird flew up and landed on the hood over the motor of my car, turned, looked at me and said, “We’re going to follow you around. You can’t escape. We are going to ruin your day.”

Stunned, I stopped, feet frozen, knees locked, mouth moving making no sound. I didn’t know what to
do, what to say to a bird who was threatening me.

“Yeah, we hate you.” The one on the top of the car said.

“Why?” Squeaked out.

“Oh, I don’t know. Pollution, deforestation, urban sprawl, wars, walls, windmills. A general lack of concern for every other creature on the planet.” He said, his voice whistling through the air, cutting like a tree branch being swung in anger, the barbs and thorns right in the front, ready to rip off flesh. He bounced and turned, and looked at me sideways.

“But, I have this World Wildlife Fund commemorative leather wrist band with a panda device right on the badge. All proceeds from the sale went to protect the environment.”  I said, my voice shaking, my hand shaking as it attempted to point at the ornamental band on my wrist and hold the coffee. My wrist was shaking, trying to turn the emblem out and hold the donuts.

They screeched with what I am assuming was bird laughter. The bird on the hood looked at a group of squirrels who had gathered on the wooden privacy fence that kept the mechanics shop dreariness from spilling onto the donut shop parking lot, and said, “Isn’t that cute, he has a bracelet?”

One of the squirrels laughed so hard he fell off the fence.

“Our hero,” the big squirrel at the end said, wiping tears off his face with little squirrel paws. “I guess that makes up for driving the car, all alone, every day. Or the years of trash, and waste, and neglect.” He was starting to sound a little angry. 

I jumped at a sound behind me, turning so quickly most of my coffee ended up running down my leg, burning all the way. Hot, steaming, delicious liquid, dark and tempting, soaked into my sock, the loss was painful, the pain was immense.

Two of the angriest geese I had ever seen were walking towards me, cursing, and hissing. Language so awful I can’t repeat it here, or anywhere.

I backed up toward the store, my left heel bumped into the raised sidewalk and I knew the wall was only a few feet away. I was trapped. All of the animals were fanned out in front of me, chanting softly, uniformly, something deep, primal, terrifying. It resonated in my bones, in my ears, I could feel the anger in my chest and stomach.

I was out of options, and time. I threw the box of donuts at them. It fell short and they spilled over the parking lot.

“Hey, donuts!” They all sang. And started eating ravenously.

I jumped in my car and sped off, breaking speed limits, traffic regulations and common decency. But, I got away. If you happen to be in the north part of town and a bunch of city animals ask about me don’t tell them where I am, please.