There is this idea I have of myself and then there is the reality. As I’ve gotten older, the gap between the two has decreased a great deal, but sometimes I realize that my image of myself isn’t matching up with who I actually am.
When I was young, I hunted. I hunted to eat. I hunted to feed others. I hunted to provide. It seems backwoods, and it was, but it was when I was little, and at a time when gutting a deer at the tender age of 5, wouldn’t send shockwaves through the mommy community. Sometimes when I tell these stories, people make assumptions about me that may or may not be true. The same way I imagine growing up in the inner city must make one liberal, living in the backwoods, evil podunk hell hole in Spain must have made me a gun-toting republican. Neither are true really.
Recently, I’ve sort of been forced to hunt again. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it sometimes, and generally bow hunt when I’m able, with a gun in case I am in some sort of trouble. I don’t mind the smell or mess, because it’s a part of the exchange…what we do to take and give when something has to die. Feel how you want about hunting, but things die for you to live, and whether you hunt or not, the exchange happens, whether intimately or en masse, it happens.
I live on a rather large swath of land that borders a very large park. Wildlife is part of the deal, and Albert, my cat, loves it for his part. He recently has gifted me with a headless squirrel, his third or so in the last few days. One day I imagine I’ll find a stash of skull heads in a burrow nearby, but I digress. Living where I do, I get the odd creature that wanders this way. Most are fine, but sometimes they are not. I’ve had to put down a rabid bobcat, raccoons… and then there are bats etc that one must always keep an eye on. I have bee hives, one which went Africanized and I spent a few days angrily torching them into oblivion. I’m generally fine to do it.
When I was out a few days back, I was chased up the tree by a very large boar. I camped in the tree for about three hours before I could come down, but it presented a greater problem. Pigs. If you don’t know, wild pigs/boar etc, are a problem in Texas. They are rampant, and sometimes those bastards cross my lake (yes they swim) and try to set up shop in my little slice of heaven. They are aggressive, destructive and mean.
When all was said and done, we put down over 100 pigs – big and small. It seems like a lot, but it is a drop in the bucket towards ending the problem. I sat down, watched the bodies burn and felt a fatigue I haven’t in a long time. I am tired of this battle.. this fight for existence. This exchange is unbalanced. Starkly so.
I simply ask you to consider, what died for you today. Who died for you, today?
And be thankful that more likely than not, you weren’t the one forced to pull the trigger on it all. At the same time, maybe that’s why we don’t appreciate it all the more.