#37 The Fall and other sorrows
July 31st, 2015
So I was out in the farce which passes for a garden, picking peas…
I did not have my cane with me because I only have two hands and I needed one to hold the bag and the other to pick the peas. Without the cane, which I call my Upstanding Friend, I am sometimes…. unstable.
I have family who will vow before the throne of the Almighty that I’ve been mentally unstable all my life. But let’s not go there.
Well, the left leg decided it wanted a holiday. Down I went. Into the pea patch. I’ve killed half my pea plants. Do you think I could get up again? I had to slither and crawl and behave most ungracefully until I got to the fence and used it to haul myself upright again.
I felt totally stupid.
I came inside, changed clothes, because I was all dirt and pea leaves and crushed sugar peas and what we will politely call compost. Made coffee. Sat in my chair to drink it and gather myself together. Drank my coffee and was going to go get a second cup. Except I could not get out of my chair.
It wasn’t exactly, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” because I had managed to get up. Once. But for a while it almost looked as if getting up was something I wasn’t going to do again.
Well, I made it “up.” but not exactly upright. I spent nearly two weeks bent at the waist, moving in itty-bitty little old lady shuffling steps, and if it hadn’t been for my unofficially adopted son Todd I’d have been in a real bind. Ah, but he is a darling. He even cooked suppers for me and hauled me out of the chair when I couldn’t quite manage on my own.
Doctor gave me muscle relaxers. They’re a good way to sleep 23 hours out of 24, which might have been the basic idea. I spent most of my time on my bed. But I’m upright again, and able to move more easily, although I am not the graceful vision I once imagined myself to be.
My upstanding friend is close at hand and I think I’ve sworn off peas, even fresh sugar peas.
Apropos nothing whatsoever… I’ve seen many signs saying “Smith and Sons” and “Jones and Son” and even a “Smith and Nephew.” But I have never set eyes on “Smith and Daughter” and certainly not “Smith and Niece”..
Talk to me of gender equality… go ahead… try…
Is anyone out there still unaware of the slaughter of Cecil, the tagged, collared, black-maned 13-year-old lion?
The reaction to his illegal murder has been such I’m almost… almost… sorry for that dweeb of a dentist who spent all that money to travel all that distance to prove to the world he’s an arstle.
Large numbers of people are calling for a halt to trophy hunting. I’m all in favour of that. These killers make me sick. They make me angry. I have no objection at all to hunting for meat. On this Island our kids are taught, “If you kill it, you eat it.” To kill any animal just so you can take its head and hide home, send it to a taxidermist, then put the head on the wall so you can brag about whatever in hell it is they brag about strikes me as being singularly akin to the kind of sociopath John Wayne Gacy was; he just chose a different animal to murder and skipped the head on the wall part.
At least Jeffrey Dahmer ate some bits and morsels of his trophies.
They head up here every year, mighty Nimrods all. Some guide who is NOT a local pockets huge money to take them out to bag their bear. We are not talking an exhausting trip, up mountain and down cliff. We are not talking about seeking out some ravenous beast which lurks in the shadows hoping to devour your children.
The Vancouver Island black bear is thought by many to be a species unto itself, different from the mainland bears. They are, for the most part, shambling, near-sighted, furballs more interested in blackberries and returning salmon than in annoying people or chasing down stray dogs.
Every spring, for years, a momma bear came to the vacant lot near my place to teach her babies about the glories of fresh clover. Bears love clover, they feast on it, they roll in it. I fancy they enjoy the perfume of it. The Nuu Cha Nulth call them “Choom” and say Momma Choom loves her babies every bit as much as we love ours…
So the guides put the Nimrods in boats with outboard motors and they head off along the shoreline. Bears love the shoreline. There’s always a delicacy or two left by the tide; beached fish, a dead seal, and, if nothing else, those little beach crabs.
The boat approaches, the guide turns off the motor, the waves push the boat toward shore, the bear might look up but the silent boat probably looks like a log. Anyway, bear is busy moving rocks, licking up the small crabs, sniffing hopefully for stranded fish.
And then KER-POW from the Nimrod with the expensive high powered rifle equipped with the made-in-Germany optic scope.
When the boat leaves there’s a pile of guts on the beach, a couple of hundred pounds of meat already attracting flies, and Nimrod has some photos of himself grinning proudly while holding up the head of the dead bear. Guide keeps the money and Nimrod gets the head and pelt of an animal which was never a threat to anyone and which was just cleaning up the left-behind on the beach.
No skill required. No challenge. No danger. Might as well go to the SPCA pound and potshot a few captive dogs.
Maybe give all that money to a farmer and shoot a cow, at least someone could eat the meat.
Damn, I hate them.
And that challenges me because I do not want to hate anyone.
Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.