Vol. 1, Issue 29, December 2, 2003
Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw
The other day, I ventured Forth to the Park for a fine post-Prandial promenade. There is little Finer than a Stroll in the Sunshine, with one's Hat at a jaunty Angle, walking stick swinging Freely, drinking in Nature's splendor. I even left my Gloves at home - woeful choice!
For as I bent to Appreciate a fine Gladiolus blossom, I inadvertently Disturbed a small striped Denizen therein: a laboring Honeybee, mid-task no Doubt. I raised my naked Hand to gently guide the insect Away, and - horrors! The bee strikes Forth: I am pricked!
I then learned some subsequent Lessons, which are: it is not Wise to pour strong Liquor on a bee-sting; also, that application of such Libation should be done with greater Care when a lit Pipe is in proximity. Fortunately, I have a spare Frock-Coat to replace the charred one, and my Bandages will come off right Pronto next week.
But I could not help feeling my Ire rise at the small arthropodic Warrior which gave its Life to Sting me to the Quick. How dare it Interlope in my floral Reverie! Is not Man the master of Nature? Begone, small Visigoth, press no longer at the Gates of my post-prandial Peace!
As I sat with my Mutterings, I was chided by Emmett - one of Ephram's ne'er-do-well Pals - that it was I who was the interloper. But I do not hold to this Exclusionary doctrine: for Man too is a Player on the same Stage of Nature as my humble striped Assailant. It is often said that Man disrupts the Balance; but the Balance is itself a juggling act, and not a Single Creature would hesitate to bring the whole house of cards Down to further its own Interests, excepting perhaps Us.
It is said that Laughter is proper to Man; but I would venture that Conscience is also his Specialty. (Also the ability to brew Single-Malt Scotch; though I digress.) And so I shall demonstrate Both properties: I chuckle Ruefully at my hapless Encounter, and I refrain from Sending a stern Missive to the nearby Apiary, reflecting that, next time, I shall keep a sharper Eye for Bees in my Gladiolus blossoms.
Also I will pack an extra pair of Gloves in my Frock-Coat.