Monday, January 11, 2010


I've been fairly regularly freaking out lately.
Since moving to South Carolina, I've been doing my best to come to terms with the differences between Columbia and Houston.
At the moment, the most noticeable thing is that it is freezing. Wait.
Literally freezing. Outside. Sometimes during the day.
Our driveway ices over. With ice.
Trees change colors seasonally. I'm so used to pines and live oaks whenever I pass a section of forest with great sweeping swaths of crimson and gold leaves, my first thought is that there is some disease -- Tree Blight, perhaps -- eating the forest.
And what's weirdest is that I pass sections of forest all the time.
There is a state park a couple of miles down the road.
Since moving here, without even entering the woods themselves, I've seen foxes, otters and (believe it or not) beavers, just running around outside like they own the place.
These creatures are endemic to zoos.
Everything I know about the natural world clearly puts these creatures in the "zoo and plastic toy" category along with lions and unicorns. But they run wild here. And sometimes down the middle of the four-lane road closest to our house.
Thankfully, the humans who live here generally drive more slowly than an otter runs.
The point is, if I wanted to watch Animal Planet I wouldn't have canceled cable TV.
When I was growing up in West Texas, wildlife had the decency to stay outside of town.
Of course, the desert creatures that live in West Texas wouldn't, as a rule, want anything in town. You couldn't buy liquor there unless you drove to the end of town east of the train tracks. I'm not sure animals are big drinkers, anyway. I actually don't know much about what animals want, I guess.
The safe thing to do, given my lack of knowledge about their motivations, is to assume they are hostile. That's not just safe, really. It's the American thing to do.
I've been researching the latest in snare technology. Oddly, aside from the substitution of polyester cord, there has been startlingly little advancement in snaring in the past eleven thousand years or so.
Don't we have some kind of task force looking at this issue? Where the hell are my tax dollars going?
It is a sad, sad day when I have to pepper my yard with snares designed in 500BCE by Proto-Europeans.
Why don't we have inflatable snares? Disposable ones? USB-powered snares, maybe?
Sometimes I think it is no wonder we are losing the war on nature.

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