De Rebus Naturae

This last bout of sub-tropical temperatures has officially marked the end of Winter around here. And with the end of Winter, naturally comes the end of seal hunting season. Melancholic times indeed.

I was mournfully cleaning my seal clubbing gear, yesterday night, getting it ready for off-season storage, when Hiromi asked me, out of the blue, why I hated Nature so much.

Why do I hate Nature so much?

I don’t hate Nature.

Not on most days.

First, and without wanting to get too much into “who did what” etc, I can’t help but notice that Nature kind of started it.

Otherwise… Nature does have a few cool things: volcanoes, lychees and these crazy little squirrels that fly between trees. lemurs are way cool too.

Though for every little cool thing it does, Nature has to fuck it up with the details. Like the way lychees are mostly one huge annoying pit with minuscule bits of yummy fruit around it, or the fact that the squirrels in my garden most definitely can’t fly (I know that for a fact: even with assistance on the take-off phase, they just don’t seem to glide their way down at all)… As for volcanoes… well, we all know about the many small impediments that come with their cool visual effects.

Lately, my daily fight against Mother Nature has involved preserving a small parcel of my garden against the evil claws of certain furry creatures, whose sad lack of appreciation for the refined art of herb gardening, is only made more glaring by their persistence in picking that precise spot, out of my whole freaking garden, as their personal toilet.

The first strike came as both a shock and a bitter disappointment, seeing how I virtually considered these filthy felines, my own blood, secondary to the many food-bonding experiences we had shared over the past few weeks. But, ungrateful bastard that they are, my disinterested offerings did little in prompting their respect for my innocent sprouts of thyme and italian basil. It did however provide me with an easy way to solve the problem with its source. Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, deceitful as they are, cats also seem endowed with a powerful sense of smell and they disdainfully ignored my strychnine-laced bacon (fear not: it didn’t go to waste. good things these damn crows will eat about anything).

Then I remembered that old trick of using potato nets to keep cats away from your flower beds: apparently, these ostensibly intelligent critters will happily dig through your petunias, but freak out at the sight of a brightly colored plastic mesh. Only problem with this brilliant idea was that, as it turns out, the potatoes sold by my local supermarket are wrapped in… plastic. I kid you not.

Onions do come in a net. A small one. That’s two onions and 15 square inches of protection for my garden.

I did contemplate buying 40 onions in order to get sufficient covering capacity. But a quick calculation led me to realize that spending 10,000 yens in unneeded perishable products in order to preserve 300 yens worth of cultures, just wasn’t a very sound investment.

Landmines were considered. And ruled out.

I was busy carrying out the next option (sharpened chopsticks buried two feet under ground and covered with a thin mesh of dead leaves and dry twigs), when I figured it’d be worth a try to just stick them above ground, in a tight formation over the sensitive area…

Incredibly enough: it worked.

As it turns out, making half my yard into a giant wooden porcupine seems to have finally sent a message to the local cat population. Or at least made the whole bathroom experience sufficiently uncomfortable that they chose to take their morning habit elsewhere.

Dave: 1 – Nature: 0

And by the way, a word of clarification regarding baby seal hunting: Nothing personal, really. It’s just that they make such comfy slippers.

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