My animal rescue skills are mad crazy. Now it’s true that I have not actually removed an innocent fox from a trap or braced a bird’s broken wing or adopted a family of baby racoons who lost their mother or anything, but for me, I have had quite a busy week of rescuing insects, amphibians and reptiles from certain death! Last week on Monday I was out midday doing some light weeding of my garden, pep talking the plants, playing with my animals, and enjoying the few bees I was seeing. You know the bee population of North America is really suffering because of many possible causes such as mites and exposure to pesticides. Without bees around to pollinate our food, I personally believe the human race will be in serious trouble. So instead of worrying about this and praying that other people will do something about it, I have decided to raise some bees myself in the not so distant future. Apparently the average hive costs about $300 and can literally live in your backyard (even in suburban areas!) So I smiled as I watch a bee going from blossom to blossom around my squash and pumpkin patch…then it buzzed right into a spider web!!! Eeek! I have been trying to not interfere in these types of situations even though I do feel for the prey, however, I figured I needed to help the bee because they’re really struggling so I used a stick to set him free and he buzzed off on his merry way.
Day 2 in the garden. Tuesday. I pulling weeds out from around green onions and black radishes when I see a little movement out of the corner of my eye. I look into the pipe that is still in the concrete where my basketball goal used to be a see a frog (toad) floating on the surface of the water from the recent rain. Oh no–I am immediately transported back in time to childhood at my Grandmother and Grandad house where I accidentally killed an animal. My cousin, Ambre’, and I filled up five gallon buckets with water and put some frogs in so that we could watch them swim around. It was all very innocent. We did not know that frogs (toads) could not continuously swim and would actually drown. We saw it happen in one bucket and ran around the house to quickly turn the other one over, but it was too late. Both frogs perished and I felt extreme sadness and remorse. You may think this is silly as I know many kids melt slugs and tie mice to bottle rockets and stuff, but I was not that kind of kid. I love all things deeply and even as a child understood the value of life in all beings. So when I saw this frog, legs spread wide, attempting to bob on the surface of the water for as long as possible, I though, “Aww crap,” and I gently poked him with a stick, expecting the worst. But he moved slightly. Then I though, “Aww crap,” again, because I’m going to have to save him. This may mean touching him, which I have actually never done. (I somehow even did not touch the frogs I caught that one time when I was little). At first I started carefully dropping rocks in the hole trying to raise him up to the surface, but then I realized this could take forever and action was needed now! So after psyching myself up a bit and making a few attempts, I reaching in there and gently, but quickly scooped him out. Then I got to watch him. I LOVE watching God’s amazing creatures. I saw him blink his eyes and could see his sides expanding with breath and his tiny heart beating. He sat there for quite awhile before attempting movement and I checked back in on his progress for a half hour or so before he was gone. He had trouble going, though. I have no idea how long he had floated there with his arms and legs open. When he was sitting, his little legs were still spread wide and looked really awkward. I imagine it would be like if we held the splits for a half an hour or so and then tried to walk…recovery time will be needed.
And now 2 days later, Thursday. Welcome to my garden, Plainbelly Water Snake.
This fellow was hung all in this deer netting I have around my small garden. I did not realize this until after he was still there for a few hours. It was amazing to get to study him up close. He was SO cool. His (or her, I guess) skin look rough, like a tire with round eyes and a completely yellow belly. After studying him, I went in to the computer to educate myself about Arkansas snakes and decide which one I believed him to be. There are only six poisonous snake varieties and this guy was not one of them. I deduce it’s a Plainbelly Water Snake instead of a rat snake.
I finally realize he’s stuck when I water my garden and he starts wiggling all around. Then I feel really bad and I’m thinking, “I can’t just let him die there!” I call around and get advice from people. “These snakes aren’t any different than snakes that people keep as pets in tanks, so just get down there, pin his head down and cut him loose.” Umm…I want him to be free, but I just touched a frog for the first time two days ago, so, baby steps. Then my dad, the same superdad of my childhood saves the day again. He MacGyvered a razor blade to a piece of pvc pipe with duck tape, put on some gloves and went to work in operation Snake Freedom. After about a solid 10-15 minutes of careful work, there is success and my dad gently prods him towards the woods. (The cats “help” as well).
Friday, my Animal Rescue efforts are completely exhausted and yet there is something buzzing around stuck in the deer netting yet again. This time, a giant dragonfly, size of child’s toy helicopter, literally stuck and buzzing to beat the band. After summoning all my strength and courage (laugh at me if you will), I take scissors and snip two thread until he soars free. *sigh* My work is done here.
The fact that I love animals is apparent. Eckhart Tolle says, “When you are in touch with the inner dimension within yourself–and being in touch with it is your natural state, not some miraculous achievement–all your actions and relationships will reflect the oneness with all life that you sense deep within. This is love.”
I am feeling that oneness with all life, that all life is special. That all things are living according to their life’s purpose. That all things want to live. Why do I have more right to life than they do? Is it because I have opposable thumbs? Is it just because I am a human being? The answer is that I don’t, but that in order for me to live, sacrifices must sometimes be made. This is what I’m dealing with when it comes to ridding my garden of pests and the future things I will deal with, like protecting my chickens from predators. As cheesy as it sounds, we are all a part of the circle of life and even if I eat vegetarian, beings are dying everyday just so that I can continue to live, (until it is my turn to die). Everything we eat has been sacrificed so that our lives can go on. It is better for me to take the burden on myself of killing the bugs in my garden or theoretically killing the animals I would eat, than to only continue to blindly consume. The fact is that if I’m not doing it, then someone else is out there doing the dirty work. I can give them thanks and assure them that I too will be a part of this circle of life.
Have you thanked your food today?