Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Update: Wolves in Squirrels' Clothing Etc.

I have indeed been neglecting my posts here and my brain queue is quite full of things I want to share, if only to empty my head.  I have a tendency to share a lot via FB about the mundanaities of my daily life.  Here is one of a few interesting (at least I think so) updates.

As you may have read previously, the inhabitants of my garden space are always a source of fascination for me.  I have noticed of late, one of the band of squirrels that comes to forage has developed a "growth" beneath the fur on his back. Now, I know about such things from my upbringing in the country.  We always referred to them as "wolves."  What they are actually are a type of larval parasite transmitted by a Botfly. You can read all the sordid details of the life cycle of the Botfly here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botfly

These tag-a-longs are usually nonlethal to the host animal. The reason I know about them is the prevalence of "squirrel hunting" in the South where I grew up. My kin (I always went along, but I cannot honestly ever remember having carried a gun myself) always waited until after first frost because the cold temperatures would "kill-off" parasites like these and the meat harvested would be cleaner. Yes, squirrels were a part of the country diet, not a constant one and only from time to time. And, yes, I have partaken.

What is interesting to me, besides the fondness of  remembering life as I once knew it, are the present day epiphanies I seem to get from observing. This squirrel is not ill or sickly and is seemingly unaffected by the rather large hump on its back. Now, I know all about "natural selection" and all that but I haven't observed any procreational activities as such, so, I won't presume to know or care if this one is getting laid or not. I am sometimes envious of the squirrels' inability to be self-aware and tendencies towards ferality. It all seems freer to me.

The point is, these creatures go about their day of working (I use this term loosely, but they do build tree houses and make sure their screaming and bleating offspring are cared for), feeding, playing not-at-all alarmed by their own or other squirrels' appearances. All the while we humans sometimes overstress about such superficial issues before leaving our abodes each morning. Having been ill for an extended period of time, I simply quit going out in public. This was partially due to my physical limitations but more than I like to admit was/is also due to my mental stressing at being seen, visually scrutinized, by my fellow cohabitants in my own microcosm. The human ones.

If I couldn't bear my own gaunt and pallid reflection in the mirror, I couldn't really expect much different from any stranger on the street, right?

Humans have an uncanny way of shunning those of us who are reminders that death is constantly among us and will ultimately come to each and every door to collect its due. I don't mean to generalize humanity as a whole, but most of us just get a mite uncomfortable at the thought, sight, smell, sound and feel of death and dying. It is the very ferality within us that makes this so.

I am no longer afraid of this inevitable visitor. I no longer even fear the suffering that may come as a consequence of my mind and soul being ripped from a fallible flesh shell. I have experienced both ( without actually having breached the threshold) in my journey thus far and can only muster a mental shrug when it comes to such matters now. Life and the world we live in is more awfully fear-wrought.  Dying seems easy when facing relearning how to live, to be, in the wake of dying.

It is what it is.

Still, I get up everyday and make the bed with intent, with all its folds and pillows, just to ensure I'm not tempted to crawl back beneath the sheets to lay waiting for that final visitor to come my way.


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