Friday, October 21, 2005


WHERE ARE THE SNOW MONKEYS OF YESTERYEAR?

I don’t know about you, but I haven't seen any monkeys lately. By 'monkeys' I don’t mean those manic creatures in the zoo, but groups, tribes, hordes of wild monkeys, as it was in the monkeyful days when I first moved up here to the mountain. Why, there were times back then when a brown simian cloud would flow through here, as I saw with my own eyes when I was present and could fight for my vegetables, or as I judged from the onionic and other debris when I returned, as recounted here in varying degrees of dudgeon. At least the furry brigands don't need garden tools, so far.

Lately, though, there's been an ominously refreshing absence of the scurrilous creatures, which though on the one hand is delightful, on the other hand what the hell is going on? I know that Japanese humans are tending to postpone marriage and having fewer children, to the extent that one day a single struggling youngster will have to fund the pensions of ten elders who live to be 150, but that's tomorrow; by then I'll have taken my pension and will be purring along the genuinely highways in my heavenly red Ferrari with Nefertiti riding shotgun...

Oh yes, the monkeys. I've begun to wonder whether they too are undertaking radical social change similar to that of their human cohabitants because my last three monkey sightings, weeks apart, have been of solitary individuals. It would seem that they no longer travel in groups, but are exploring the vagaries of existentialism, beginning to question their surroundings, the meaning of existence and so forth. We all know where that can lead. Hence my recent experience with the monkey at the end of the tunnel, in which we looked each other over pretty good, as though he were studying my style, such as it is, for future reference. I was half expecting him to come right out and ask my thoughts on religion. I suspect things might be getting serious.

Another sighting was a solo monkey sitting thoughtfully in front of a very old 'library' we pass on one of our favorite walks over the ridge. The place was a big knowledge center around here way back during the Edo era. It's pretty much unused now, but I suppose researcher monkeys have to begin somewhere; I doubt if they could get a card to the Kyoto U. library. On another mountain walk we saw a solo simian loping along the edge of a rice paddy where the view of the Lake was excellent. The monkey wasn't going out on a date or hurrying home to the family or community, he was just enjoying himself in the wild, the way college students do, as I recall vividly even today. So I began to wonder about monkey careers after college and so on, which led to this undisciplined protoessay and me with no time right now...

One thing's for sure, though: if those monkeys ever do learn enough to start using gardening tools, I'll find out where their gardens are, and when they go to the office.

5 comments:

Dalene said...

Haha! Monkey gardens...monkey karma...and you with a basket full of vegetables...life is a circle after all...

Mary Lou said...

Uh Wasnt it just a few months ago that you wrote about wanting to get rid of the monkeys? Maybe they actually heard you ranting and decided that they would no longer honor you with their presence...pity that!

samcandide said...

Maybe the great group moved elsewhere and only the misfits and intellectuals ponder what's left behind...

Maybe the mother ship finally returned...

I like "refreshingly ominous" and "onionic and other debris."

samcandide said...

Whoops--that was "ominously refreshing." I like that, too. (It's very late here in California. I should be asleep.)

Robert Brady said...

I am not at all lamenting my present state of monkeylessness, I simply would be pleased to know that the redfaced marauders were fully content, in reasonable numbers and natural surrounds, at some great distance from my wannabe onions.