Tuesday, July 09, 2002


Recently as I was driving down the road in the evening dark to the station I suddenly saw some odd pink flowers floating in the beam of my headlights along the curving roadside. Rolling closer, I saw that they were in fact two little round noses and one large round nose, the little noses sniffing frantically in the direction of the immense, growling, blinding beast I was driving toward them.

It was mama inoshishi (wild boar) and her two new babies, the brown of them invisible in the dark, creating the impression that their bright pink noses, especially the babies' noses, were floating in the air like small pink cartoon-balloon-flowers.

The trio had come in the musk of the damp evening to partake of the richly scented, tasty new rice that, thanks to the nice farmers, was growing all over the place and was now just ready for new piggy appetites. At sight of the sun-eyed monster coming toward them, though, when they had just crossed the road to their banquet, the babies at once wanted to flee for their lives, even away from the rice, back across the road in front of the monster and into the safety of the forest, but the mama knew about these monsters, how they pass by and fade away into the darkness, so she signalled the little ones to hold their ground, right there and vulnerable on the open field side of the road, within inches from the monster; it was against their every instinct, but they did it. Some kids do obey their parents.

So I slowed to take a look at them below the window, the babies staying in place but bouncing furiously with the deep aggravation of ignoring their instincts, a conflict that drove their muscles to flee while they themselves stayed put. How focused they were in those noses, studying this new and huge situation so intensely, to such olfactory depths!

I wanted to stop and watch them at length close-up, but I had to pass on by and into the darkness so as to prove mama right.

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