Saturday, January 02, 2010


INTELLIGENT EVOLUTION: LEARNING FROM OUR WILD NEIGHBORS


It is good for us to live amongst the wild creatures, carry on with our lives amidst their close vicinity, the better to learn from those evolved beings the truths we need to know about our own proper place in this world of which we fancy ourselves the overlords.

In fact I had such a lesson this morning, when I almost stepped on a baby monkey. The tiny wrinkled creature, even then in the midst of learning to sneak up onto my deck to get as many as he could carry of the winter potatoes that in my negligence (half the soul of human kindness) I had left in a basket there, afforded me some further insights into our respective places in the universe, and how we civilized, hardworking, largely altruistic creatures and the thieving beasts around us fit together in the big picture.

The unexpected lesson (the best kind) began just as I was putting my lunchbowl into the sink, when out the big window onto the garden I saw a bigass monkey ambling like a lord into my garden through the gate I'd negligently left open (I'd just been out there putting some rice straw on a couple places, left the gate open for after-lunch garden tweaking).

I ran out the door at once yelling and handwaving in regard to my respective place in the universe blablabla vis-a-vis monkey lust for my onions, a complex philosophical question that I gave no consideration as I headed instinctively - like a monkey toward an onion - for the little pile of antibeast rocks I keep handy on the deck railing.

Anyway, to get back to the infant thief beneath my foot, as I pounded onto the deck to chase Bigass out of my garden I came within a monkeynose of stepping on the cute little artful dodger wannabe as he was edging toward what were almost his potatoes. You should have seen the look in his beady already criminal eyes-- he had never seen a monkey as big as me, pale face yelling for justice, a huge beast covered in different kinds of multicolored nonfur, in his entire life. He'd just been born of course, so had but a short time range to choose from, but that only magnified the experience for him; he tumbled backward in disbelief and fell off the deck right in front of I guess his mother, who was grubbing among the lily roots and also freaked at sight of her falling child with me above.

At the same time, I saw that Bigass was out there with his numerous tribe (there must have been a few dozen of them, all ages) all around, so I had to yell louder and gesticulate more threateningly until I had reached a crescendo sufficient to dominate that many monkeys (there’s a formula I use) and they all took off carrying babies and other monkey luggage (though not one potato or onion, I’m proud to say), legging it for the property nearby that has a big dog who is nicer to them, only barks and possible bites. No long-distance definite rocks from a big loud beast suddenly out of nowhere.

I learned much from the experience. From the look on that little big-eyed face, for example, I learned that I am in fact the overlord of this particular fraction of the world, and that little brigand had better believe it, like the rest of his tribe. But most importantly of all, I came to realize that the monkeys in their natural state have an ecological role to play when, in the depths of winter - as they have done since the first tick of monkeytime - they subsist on roots, seeds, bark, whatever the wild provides. Like us, however, the monkeys prefer an easier way if there is one, though they haven't the will or the wherewithal to create it themselves, so they want ours. Thus is their natural role - which historically does not include onion consumption - critically unbalanced when they steal my produce; so in yelling at and pelting them with rocks to drive them from the garden (much like ourselves, in our own mythic times), I am doing my part to restore the natural balance, thereby helping forestall the possibility of global warming, among other growing perils.

Yes, it is good, as I say, for us to learn from and teach our fellow creatures our respective proper places in the world. The little crook and I pretty much have that down now. He'll be back. But I'll be waiting. With more than a size eleven.

Doing my part for a cleaner future.

5 comments:

Tabor said...

My current battle cry is against a squirrel that is determined to eat all the suet I have placed out for the birds. I actually have a squirt gun filled with ammonia water when he dares to cross my deck. We are such odd animals.

thesoybean said...

this seems like a slightly more philosophical version of caddyshack...

thesoybean said...

this seems like a slightly more philosophical version of caddyshack...

Mary Lou said...

I am so glad to see that you are doing your part for the Natural World. Ecology is GOOD! ;)

ted said...

I may have come across the Rosetta Stone:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8405806.stm