Dear readers, I awoke this morning to the sound of a small bird chirping his heart out on my window sill: the sound of Spring. Then I heard the sound of my cat, Timbers, snapping the bird’s spine like a sprig of celery. That was the sound of Nature.
Yes! Spring is here and Nature is in full bloom! And who better to offer his helpful tips to readers than yours truly, a ten-time 6th grade substitute biology teacher? With spring comes the arrival of new baby animals to our surroundings. If you come across a seemingly abandoned baby bird or rabbit in your backyard, do not touch it! If the thing wasn’t good enough for its own parents, it isn’t going to be good enough for you.
The arrival of spring also means the arrival of Nature’s supermarket: the woods! All kinds of nuts, berries and other tasty treats appear during spring. Hamburgers may not grow on trees, but small birds do. Well, they live in them, and I’ve never been one to split hairs. My point is, they taste just as good on a bun with ketchup and pickle.
If you forget your shopping list when wandering through the woods, just peel off a piece of bark (Nature’s paper!) and if you also forgot a pen, use a sharp stick and your own blood (Nature’s ink!).
Best of all, shopping in the woods means you won’t have to risk severe blood loss when clipping coupons (“Newspapers: The Danger in Your Driveway,” April 12th). If you need transportation to take your “groceries” home, try to find a wild horse (tip: No reins, fair game!). Once you locate one, it’s best to sneak up behind one and begin patting it firmly on the rear. Horses are quite proud of their nice buns, which is why they are called Nature’s Brazilians.
But be warned! Nature is not without its dangers!
Nature’s wrath comes in unassuming forms. Loyal readers will remember the terrible Bluebird attack I suffered (“A Thrush with Death,” May 5th) and my ongoing campaign to legalize hunting them to extinction (“Am I the Only One Thinking of the Children?!” June 20th). Many a full-grown man has been brought to tears by this scourge of the sky.
Another of Nature’s most dangerous creatures are bees, which can attack like a swarm of flies. Just remember that bees derive their power from the mother nest. If you sense an oncoming attack, go on the offensive and destroy their nest with a large stick! This will render each buzzing beast as harmless as a fly.
Hardly a year goes by that we don’t hear about a vicious shark attack. Most biologists believe that sharks attack people because they mistake them for seals. When a shark approaches, knock the beach ball off your nose and stop clapping immediately!
In the event of an attack, always keep in mind most animals are as afraid of you as you are of them. If attacked by a wild animal, instead of running away, why not stand up for yourself for once in your life! At least if the animal is small and you think you can take him. If attacked by a larger animal, like a Grizzly bear, quickly curl into a non-threatening ball. Then tumble away to freedom (this only works on hills).
If the attack is coordinated by more than one animal, like a Grizzly astride two wolves, geez…I don’t know what to tell you.
Even though Nature is dangerous, we should remember it is also beautiful and wonderful, especially in springtime. In fact, as I often say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a poem as lovely as a tree. Although, I guess that’s a stupid thing to say, since you don’t really “see” poems. I’ve never seen a movie as beautiful as a tree. Well maybe Robocop, you can’t really beat that, but not the sequels where he gets all lame. So: Robocop, a tree, then Robocop II and III.
Perhaps most importantly, Nature can teach us many things about life. I like to think of the forest as a repository of knowledge, like a library except without any books and where the patrons squawk and howl constantly.
Remember the Nature fables of Aesop (“Ol’ Soppy” to friends)? For example, there is that one about the mouse who begged the lion for his life and promised he would return the favor one day. The two stayed friends for awhile, but the lion grew resentful of the mouse’s success and that favor never got returned. Then one day the lion screwed the mouse out of a bunch of money on a real estate deal or something. I think the moral was: don’t do business with friends unless you are in a really tight spot. That is something I had to learn the hard way (“Brad Millington is a Grade-A Jerk!” Oct. 25th).
Well, I guess that about wraps up my essay on spring. Let me end by saying to my readers that before you dismiss Nature as irrelevant to your modern lives, think of that other fable by Ol’ Soppy, the one about the boy who cried wolf: There was a lonely farmer boy whose best friend was a hound dog. He played with that dog all summer long until the day his father walked by and screamed “That ain’t no dog! That’s a wolf!” The boy freaked out and chased the wolf away. But then he had no one to play with and spent the rest of his days crying “Wolf! Wolf! Come back!”
The same could happen to you.