*contains graphic - gross content*
A beautiful Saturday dawned in Tauranga.
I woke at a quarter past eight despite having only gone to sleep a few hours previous.
After a most successful first Skype session with a very awesome person.
I cuddled kittens and child made sure the were all watered,
then I jumped in the shower nothing like a shower for a cob webby head.
After my shower I turned on the computer and started making breakfast.
Fried Ham and Egg with tomato on toast.
Made one for myself and the boy, forgetting that he is now off eggs as he is off fish.
I signed into twitter and started reading, tweeting and eating.
Tweeting with these awesome folk throughout their show
mostly about alcohol, oh and the Land of Cake! (where I wanted to live)
Which came up in the pub quiz,
that I could but (virtually) stare blankly at, while I watched pebbles drop
into the great abyss that was my mind.
Turns out that The Land of Cake is Scotland!
Wow! Wow! So I'm okay.
I think I'll stay here in my lil' piece of NZ paradise and sneak the odd cake.
So a great morning was spent connecting with great people, sharing a laugh and more.
Dave suggested I get out in my zombified state,
as it may just help clear the cob webs. (my words not his)
I knew he was right and I knew that I would,
because I just didnt feel like sleeping at 12pm on a most gorgeous summery autumn day!
So after a glass or two of pure tap water (I know living dangerously) not!
I put on my shoes and fluffed around here and there.
Didn't really know where we were going to walk.
At the end of the drive I asked Cullen aka the child aka the boy.
Take me where you and Tom go and show me this 'scary' wasp nest.
So off we went in the opposite direction to our norm of going to the boardwalk,
aka one of the biggest Wetlands project in the southern hemisphere,
aka the reserve.
So went down our street toward the tennis club where only a few people were playing.
Down the side of it and down the hill behind it.
It is just this huge green space with a small piece
near the top planted in native shrubs.
He showed me the wasp nest now laying abandoned on the ground.
It was approx the size of my hand stretched out.
After that we continued down the hill then walked back up
our neighbouring street towards the little access way that would take us
through to this little park on our street.
Now Cullen didn't want to go to the boardwalk he just didn't feel like it
and I didn't feel like just going to the shop and then home.
We hadn't even walked ten minutes and I needed more!
More exercise more fresh air more spaces to extend the eyes.
So we walked past the access way and continued down the street
and ended up at the reserve.
Cullen was happy trying to catch Monarch butterflies,
I carried on down the grass driveway size lane lined either side by flax and shrubs,
some of which towered more than a head above me.
Occasionally stopping and breathing to take it all in.
I chose a path in the fork and nearly stood on a decapitated eel!
It was a horrid site and not to big either approx 30cms in length.
I squealed at the fly attracting sight and instinctively covered my nose and mouth.
Although I could not smell anything at all.
Cullen passed the horror a minute or so later I heard his reaction behind me.
I stood waiting upon a large lid for large pipe works, surveying the site.
It was at least a half meter high. Then I said because it's obligatory!
"I'm the King of the Castle and you're a dirty rascal"
The boy not impressed grunted and jumped up. I pretended to push him
and catch him, he looked at me like 'what are you doing' so serious I laughed.
Then we were off down another path amongst shrubs and following
Yellow Hammers (sparrow like birds that are yellow)
We came to another fork a gravel one we took a few steps west
then we kept going north, along the 'actual' man made wooden boardwalk.
I had intended to maybe walk up a huge hill and back along the main road
calling into the supermarket on the way home.
I stopped for a time watching the traffic on the highway crawl along
at a snail's pace which is unusual but I couldnt figure what was going on.
I noticed people coming along the boardwalk in the distance.
Cullen had raced off back into shrubbery.
I watched a Grey Heron fly south then turn fly north then turn again.
I lost sight of the Heron as I turned hearing Cullen pound up talking fast.
"I caught a snoring cicada, only the second one I have ever caught"
He opened his hand and this amazing bright yet deep reed green
cicada sat singing his protest it was a gorgeous little thing, approx 2cm in length.
It flew off.
We continued north saying Hi!
To two couples with babies in strollers going south.
We nearly made it to the end of the boardwalk and Cullen expressed his
total dislike for walking up the hill along the road side with the traffic.
So we turned around and started heading back the way we had come
which is a much better choice for walking.
A man and his two children biked past without greeting.
Then a little ahead of us they stopped at the edge of the gravel,
as we got closer we saw that they were watching this hedgehog.
We came to stand next to them and then slowly moved onto gravel.
The man said "Unusual to see them in the daytime isn't it"
The response always given when hedgehogs are out in daylight.
But I stopped and agreed with him.
Then they all moved forward walking their bikes.
All five of us stood scrutinizing this hedgehog,
which stopped suddenly and seemed to shake and shudder,
then the man mentioned what I had that instant noticed.
"It's spikes are they moving?"
Horror movie scenes flicked through my head.
I had a pretty good idea what it was that was moving on this creature.
His boy went closer and confirmed this.
We were sort of moving slowly still staring in slow mo horror.
I without meaning to, blurted out.
"God I wish I was more of a farmer" The man said "Why what would you do?"
I shook my head hand again coming to my mouth.
"You'd put it out of it's misery?" He answered for me.
I said again without thinking. "Yeah well it's getting eaten alive!"
I felt my skin crawl at the thought.
We had stopped moving at this stage still watching the poor creature
slowly walking and occasionally twitching and stopping.
He said "Maybe I should do it, get a stick and hit it over the head?"
He didn't sound so sure. I in a feeble voice said
"You have your babies with you"
He then went on to talk about how cruel nature can be and some
of the classic African fight of the fittest programmes he had seen recently.
We were all still watching this poor hedgehog.
"Yeah I better do this aye the poor creature is suffering. I cant let it suffer.
I'll hit it on the head with a stick"
I think this was more to himself than I, but I said.
"Yes it would be the best thing.
Though I don't if know you can trust any stick around here"
I looked around at the flax stems the dead stumps and branches hopelessly.
He, his daughter and son put their bikes down and he said.
"Don't judge me." I replied "Oh know! Not at all he must be in agony!"
So in the maybe five mins we had seen this creature.
His fate had been decided.
At this stage the hedgehog had walked about 4 metres down the gravel track.
The man walked down to meet the creature his children followed.
I looked to Cullen to see if he wanted to see this and he said yes with a little
uncertainty which I'm sure we all felt.
In that time the man had found the perfect stick!
A piece of 2x4 long enough to be effective short enough to not be awkward.
He asked his kids to move away saying they might not want to see it.
I tried to get them to turn away and they did for the first hit.
But curiosity got the better of us all.
The second hit we all watched and it looked like he was successful
as the hedgehog lifelessly flew into the flax.
We all breathed and felt some relief I think.
I was still horrified at the thought of it being a living meal.
"It is gone, he is gone for sure" said the man "I think I did the right thing."
I affirmed "Oh you did definitely, it would've been in so much pain?"
"Well" he said to his kids
"How is that for an afternoon? We helped stop suffering."
"Yes we got to see the circle of life, the hedgehog doesn't suffer
and the bugs still live"
Silly statement I guess but it was an odd moment.
He then said. "Lucky we came down here we weren't going to today,
isn't it funny how things work out."
I nodded saying "Thank goodness you did come down this way
I don't think I could've done that"
We went off again on how crazy life was, I mentioned the decapitated eel we'd seen and
he said how crazy people were to do such.
I did my same old spiel.
"I think everybody does do the best they know how,
it's not always right but it is the best they know."
The man agreed saying. "Yes it comes down to the parents"
I said "Yes and how they were raised"
He asked if we were from around there I told him our street.
Then he pointed out his home to the north looking out over this beautiful valley.
I had a twinge of jealousy as I exclaimed. "What a beautiful view!"
He gave me his business card and told me
he was a male hairdresser and worked from home.
(I cursed myself for never carrying my cards around.
But justified that with that thought with,
he wouldn't want to buy my jewellery anyway)
He then said he didn't make a lot being a hair dresser.
But enough to own his home (mortgage) and support himself and his kids.
My jealousy dissipated.
But I still wondered about the cards.
We parted with it was nice meeting you under these not so nice circumstances.
Cullen and I walked off, pondering the events that lead us
to be at this place at this time.
The synchronicity and unseen forces making us meet at that point to help save
a little being from the most hideous of deaths.
1. My early morning bedtime. (making me want a decent walk)
2. My Saturday ritual of mushroom listening. (keeping me home)
3. Daves encouraging me to go out (reaffirming my need to get out)
4. The getting out and then deciding which way to go. (getting out)
5. The detours and the stops we made. (placing us at right time)
6. The turning around and changing our path. (as above)
7. My blurting out "God I wish I was more of a farmer!" (making the man stop)
8. The man and his children choosing that path at that time.
(being there to see hedgehog and take action)
(being there to see hedgehog and take action)
If these things hadn't taken place would the hedgehog still be suffering?
Would the hedgehog had been hurt in the first place?
I'm not sure what to take from this encounter
other than that we can take a life in vain and let it rot in the sun (eel)
or we can respect the living and reduce the pain. (hedgehog)