A Dozen years back, a whale beached itself directly in front of my Brother David’s apartment, on one of the rare occasions that he was out of town. We considered this uncanny event symbolic, since David is a top-notch Wildlife Protector for the State of
. While he has a rascally background, Officer Banholzer takes his job as seriously as I do mine -as if our lives depended on them. North Carolina
Once a whale beaches itself, that’s about it for the creature. The weight of its own body, used to being buoyant, crushes itself without the encompassing ocean-water to buttress its gravity. Many people wonder why so many of these creatures continuously thrust themselves onto our shores.
Some say that whales are becoming disoriented by modern sea vessel sonar and other mitigating factors –known and unknown. Ever since TV first radiated, it seems that technology gets placed on fancy pedestals while impact studies are mostly burning afterthoughts.
Could it be that the whales are sending us a bottled message from the once crystal seas, that they now mourn the earth? Their self-sacrifice is looked at as a clarion call for better caretaking by some, while laughed off meaninglessly by others.
Occasionally I read
newspapers. In fact, a “Mountain Xpress” comes out every Wednesday in the enlightened mountain town of North Carolina . When the entire hullabaloo came into our hollar, about a rancher in Mackay who legally shot a local man’s dogs chasing his cows, I found a fascinating story in this seemingly parallel paper. It shows that the ways in which we treat animals, reveals much about ourselves. (See: In the eye of the beholder / Mountain Xpress / Asheville, NC) Asheville
After serendipitously discovering this story, I remembered another passage in Carson’s / Sam’s Medicine Cards, speaking about the loyalty of dogs:
“If Dog has been yelled at or paddled, it still returns love to the person who was the source of its bad treatment. This does not come from stupidity, but rather from a deep and compassionate understanding of human shortcomings. It is as if a tolerant spirit dwells in the heart of every canine that asks only to be of service.”
David gets to bark up all sorts of trees as a Wildlife Officer. If gunshots of unknown origin are heard, in the cover of night, he gets called first, in under the assumption that poachers are out spotlighting again. He rescues deer caught in barbed wire fences, using the same wrassling moves, I was only too eager to use on him, before he joined the Marines. In between teaching hunter safety courses, David occasionally captures and relocates wayward alligators away from Golf Course Links.
One dark night David caught a preacher illegally shooting deer in the dark. The preacher shrieked, in an inhuman voice, “I can’t help it; it’s a disease!” After his conviction, the preacher continued crying shrilly from his pulpit, that his parishioners “may have read some things in the newspaper, but that they are all fallacious.” Soonafter, people attending worship came to David and asked, “What is the truth?” David told them that in this case they should be believers –of the news of record accounts, of their leader’s conviction.
It seems that half the populace will try to take the easy way out. When they think that there is no
watchdog, many do not abide by the simple rules. David says that of the potential “violators” he surveils; fully one-half eventually litter something during the course of an afternoon. I have asked him about this often and he says that this statistic remains static.
, newspapers and political signage are not considered trash, even if they are stained full of things more unseemly than bloody poaching convictions, before being tossed aside into un-receptacled areas. Imagine the sausage-like mechanisms that went into passage of a law like that. North Carolina
David sometimes finds fish choked in plastic, discarded from six packs. Some wormy fishermen find this funny. I suppose then for them, a keg of beer gone overboard, blocking up a whales blowhole is about as good as it gets.