Another week and another writing challenge. The topic “Now for something completely different” is designed to push the blogger out of their comfort zone. For example, if you write fiction, try non-fiction. Which is what I did, a personal essay of sorts, and believe me, this introvert is so far out of her comfort zone, I might actually be in another time zone. Anyway, here goes it:
Green aware, nature shy.
I live as green as I can, I really do. I live in a neighborhood where I can walk to most places. I clean everything with vinegar and baking soda. Our house is insulated well and we set the thermostat to regulate our heat so that we use fewer natural resources. We drink shade-grown bird-friendly coffee. We drive a Prius. The protection of the natural world is important to me. Nature is important to me.
But at a distance.
It’s not that I’m afraid of wild animals; it’s just that I like to admire them from afar. I do, after all, live in the city for a reason. I like concrete and manicured yards, paved sidewalks and public transportation. I like my animals in a park, down by the lake, and if push comes to shove, in the backyard.
I admit, I do have a problem with sharing my living space with what some call local wildlife and what I call vermin. When it comes to mice in the house I show no mercy. No I don’t use humane traps and let them go in the woods. I use the time-tested standard neck-breaking trap. Until someone does invent a better mousetrap, it’s the best and least cruel way of getting rid of the dirty little rodents.
Don’t even get me started on raccoons. The battle we have over the green food-waste bin is what legends are made of. That raccoon proof latch never worked. I’ve tried putting it in the shed, hanging it from the deck, securing the lid with bungees, weighing it down with large bricks and even elevating it on top of our large garbage bin. Nothing works. Not even a well-aimed shot with a Super Soaker (or so I’ve heard).
My mother-in-law on the other hand, is a local nature nut. She feeds her backyard wildlife and is always attracting more. She fed the local skunk for a while too — until she overheard neighbors wondering why they kept seeing so many skunks. Old broken branches form part of her landscaping so that small mammals have a place to live. Multiple types of bird feeders and even a squirrel feeder hang off of her trees.
Dead animals are on her radar as well. I remember sitting in her living room listening to the kids’ excited conversation about the bird in grandma’s freezer. I’m thinking we’re having chicken for dinner. Turns out grandma found a dead baby bird and placed it in a freezer bag. Why waste such a good opportunity to see all the details up close?
While grandma is very hands on, I’m very hands off. While I am all “Eeewww, don’t touch that”, she is all “hey look at this.” I admire her for that even if it gives me the creeps. It takes a community to raise a child and if for her that means a community garden then so be it. It’s good for the kids to have some kind of balance, her ying to my yang. Her yeah to my yuck. As I resist the urge to pull out the hand sanitizer, I remind myself that as parents we need to expose our kids to a variety of ways to view the world so that as adults they can be independent thinkers, not followers. And who know, maybe we’ll learn something along the way too.
Currently my in-laws are camping in Florida. We received a hand written letter for the kids. It stated We found a dead crab. We froze it and will show it to you when we get home.