Thursday, August 19, 2004


Think of it: for perhaps a thousand years now, maybe more, the wild pigs who have always lived in the forests on these mountains have each year just around late August-early September begun to drift in hoggy anticipation toward the big pigout, the ripening rice that has been faithfully planted on this rice-ideal mountainside precisely for the nighttime dining enjoyment of wild pigs (in occasional tacit exchange for the wherewithal of wild pig stew), but now things have changed in ways unforeseen by porky oracles.

For example, few around here eat wild pig stew anymore; there's a MacDonald's down the road moving closer, and the rest of the big globalization truck-plane-supertanker caravan is just careering around the corner, so the ancient pig-rice-stew tradition is heading for the cultural trash heap, along with so many other aspects of human/nature relations, here as everywhere. The old farmers hereabouts have tired of chasing pigs away in person all night every night for a month every year, and the young farmers in their radically diminishing numbers aren't all that interested in stalking wild pigs through the dense forest and killing them for gamy-flavored food in preference to a Big Mac with everything.

So as of a couple days ago there is a high electrified (mildly) fence surrounding those ancient rice fields, and I'm not sleeping well these nights, I think the relentless pig frustration is affecting my dreams. I picture them out there moving through the darkness with those old harvest-time hogsmiles on their faces, bearing historically tantalizing ripe-rice images in their timeless hearts as they and their ancestors have always done, nosing through the bamboo thickets toward the rich fatgrain scent that has been their dark dominion, their percentage of the take, salivating as they head toward the finest in dining, delicately sensitive noses outstretched in porcine anticipation and Z-Z-Z-AP!! The shock and porcine puzzlement must be profound.

They stop and think piggy thoughts: let's try over here: Z-Z-Z-AP!! Maybe down here then: Z-Z-Z-AP!! And so it goes unheard through the night, all wrapped in the scent of ready-to-eat rice, as the historic rulers of darkness are informed in no uncertain terms that history has unilaterally changed forever, that henceforth there will be, unthinkably, NO MORE NIGHT RICE. And the mama pig, who brings her two little piglets for the taste time of their brand-new lives: what will she tell them? Just think what this will do to their culture!


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