Living in the shadows and the night, feasting on the beautiful innocents caught in the web. A feared carnivore and ambusher building in the night. Causing anxiety and panic to all who pass into the fine threads. It’s beautiful designs and purpose understood only by the few as strange themselves. Thinkers and builders and artists with open minds and ideas, having empathy and a path for understanding creatures living in the shadows. Creatures with their own beauty created by nature and it’s unforgiving will and blindness to the final products burden of judgement. Creatures with beauty, forever living in the shadows and feeding in the night under the disgust and fear of those ignorant beings of the day and the sun. Those beings in their prison of bigotry and comforts, relishing only in the beauty they know of themselves. The creatures and beings always separated by light and dark forever. Both in fear and contempt they exist among and apart forever. Just living and never knowing, each with their own selfish beauty.
It’s really hard being a poor American and a nature lover living in a way that doesn’t contribute to the collective footprint on the environment of the world. You can be a vegan and you can walk everywhere and live in a cardboard box and you’re still playing into the industrialized global destruction of the planet. Especially if you’re poor. Being rich doesn’t help either. Americans walk on the backs of somebody somewhere everyday. If you drink a coke you’re supporting illegal child labor. If you use an iPhone you’re supporting crooked mining companies in Africa and horrid labor practices in China so you can Snap chat at a greater speed. That shrimp you like is possibly processed in a warehouse using slave labor. Many American companies have factories in countries with few regulations where they pollute and pay slave wages. In return for the subjugation of the worlds poor and the lands they live in we get to have neat shiny objects and great snack foods.
My guilt that I feel for my consumerism is mainly around the deforestation that is caused by the cheap foods and drinks I consume everyday. Fucking palm oil and those poor starving orangutans crawling out of acres of tree stumps down to the logging roads, they’re on my mind every time I eat shit food or use cheap detergent. I buy snacks to put in my pack for my hikes, and American snacks that are processed and packaged are horrible things. The wrappings alone probably give us health problems and then they’re full of preservatives, but the fucking palm oil from Borneo is just a nightmare situation for appeasing that sweet tooth on a hike. That palm oil is in most of the snacks and sweet things you eat and many other household items.
I was sitting by a pond today lined with willow trees. Beavers love young willow trees, as they eat the bark. Willow trees also have a chemical called salicin. Salicin kills pain and reduces fever and luckily is produced in labs to make aspirin. So, I was looking at these willow trees and thinking how horrible it would be if they were harvested for something somebody needed in some foreign land and all the animals that relied on them perished as a result. It’s a horrible apocalyptic image that is a reality for people in Borneo everyday so that I can eat Doritos with my gas station hot dog or have my Ramen noodles. Also, the share holders get to be fat cats by providing us with cheap palm oil laced foods. The one percent play a huge part in fucking us all over. From the fat fuck Cheetos addict to the orphaned starving orangutan, they’re both getting screwed for the bottom line. It’s all about profits. As the poverty stricken, broken down, nearing middle age American nature lover with few choices for comfort, I can only suck on my guilt and sweet snacks. I can also write and hope somebody else feels shitty enough to eat less snacks tomorrow when they get bored or hungry or sad and eat some disgusting food made in a factory powered on the blood of the world.
Getting too wordy. Have empathy for life and try to make a smaller footprint.
Deep deep in the forest of a far away land, there is a place of magic where our fairy tales are true. Animals are sweet and they sing and talk and live inside of fairy tale cottages and castles with magical people doing magical things. One such magical person isn’t so much a person as he is Frank the Monster. Frank was a lonely monster who roamed the woods with little thought or direction. Frank wandered here and there and slept under trees and deep in caves where he ate yucky things and sometimes delicious things but not usually. He walked through trees and came out into fields where the grass was as tall as he. One such time he was looking at the sky picking shapes in the clouds and the ground fell out from under him as he fell. He fell deep deep into a well. So deep the sun was a tiny circle high above and when the clouds passed he was alone in the cold wet dark. All Frank could do was keep from falling farther and wait and hope for rescue.
In the field as Frank fell there were three friends who witnessed his blunder, a rabbit, a mouse, and a tree frog. They were wise and trustworthy, lucky for Frank. They quickly knew what to do, where to go, and who to talk to. They needed speed and the rabbit was into cross fitness while the mouse was not and the frog not so much. The frog leaped on the mouse and the mouse scurried onto the rabbit and off they went at speed!
As the sun went down they arrived at a cottage built of logs and full of light and music. The logs were chocolate and the roof thatched with cherry licorice. Inside the windows passed blue birds doing chores and singing and two great big dogs, one black and one gold with a Pooka in between them as they cuddled and colored. The Pooka was beautiful and sweet and her love ruled the forest for a days walk around her home. The tree frog whose name was twig if you asked him jumped and climbed to the window and knocked and knocked as his little fingers made no noise. Luckily Pooka has powers and knew something was wrong. She opened the door and the three went on about a goof falling in the well. Pooka listened and knew what to do so she grabbed her green plaid coat and flew. Pooka was fleet of foot and fast as lightning and she was at the well in no time flat.
Frank was cold and wet but he was a monster and he was strong. He kept his head up and his legs stiff and saw the silver of the crescent moon slowly move from east to west in a wide arc. The moons glow was there until it was replaces by the sweetest smile a monster might ever know.There was a golden haired Pooka to the rescue of a silly monster down in a well.
Pooka was there but she needed help. Monster was big, even for a magical person. She whistled and waited and out came help, a family of llamas led by Zero and Flash. Pooka let down her hair and it grew and grew twenty feet or maybe more. The hair went in the well and twisted and turned and came to Frank just out of reach. The llamas said hey and shed their shag. Pooka took their hair and twisted and braided until the shag was steel strong. A dozen squirrels ran it down and tied it off and Monster was able to grab hold and hold on tight. Zero and Flash play tug of war and they tugged and tugged until Frank was in the moonlight. Frank grabbed Pooka and squeezed her tight and patted the dogs and disappeared into the night.
When walking on trails or making your own this spring and early summer, watch out for all the little critters being born or waking up for the year. If you walk real slow and keep your eye out you’ll see tiny frogs, snails, insects, and maybe some cute little raccoons. All these creatures are special and important to the ecosystem in their own way. Even the ugliest little things have an important job and deserve to be stepped over and not stepped on.
When it comes to all the pretty flowers, they also need to be protected. Wild flowers are protected by law so that they’re not all picked. They might look good in a vase at home, but they need to stay in the wild to reproduce and be seen by everyone. There are invasive species and wild edibles that are good to harvest and it’s easy to do a little research to find out what those are. Be careful though and don’t eat anything you’re not 100% sure about. Wild carrots look a lot like poison hemlock for example and can lead to a deadly mistake.
If you see something that you’re just dieing to take home, take a few extra minutes to enjoy it in the wild and take some pictures so that you’ll always have a keepsake. That way the little critters can stay in their home and meet the next hiker that comes along.