Bitch-slapped by a morepork

By: Rogers Rabbits

Brian Rogers
Rogers Rabbits

The best therapy is cavorting  with Nature.

I’m pleased to say we’ve been interacting a lot with nature lately and I can highly recommend it. I generally take a kayak or in extreme emergencies, walk. But God would not have given us carbon fibre and adjustable length and feather smart shafts, if he’d meant us to walk.

Some people bicycle to Nature, but most people have the odd habit of getting there by driving cars, which are sourced from all natural products - mostly metals and some plastics, which are obtained from some factories built of natural concrete, and vehicles powered by gasoline which is derived from naturally-occurring oil.

Some power their cars with natural electricity, which is obtained from mining the planet to oblivion to extract lithium and other battery ingredients, then cram the batteries with electricity which is a by-product of water and gravity; but in some cases, burning a sh!t-ton of coal as well. And then they chuck away the used batteries in a festering pile in some quiet corner of Nature, hoping no-one in the future will disapprove, and kidding themselves they are helping the planet more than the people using naughty gasoline.

When we get to Nature, we marvel at its beauty and commend ourselves for making the effort.

Nature strikes back

This week I was busy doing just that, having a Nature appreciation moment, when Nature decided to strike back. Sitting alongside a tranquil lake, pondering the meaning of life, watching the last fading rays of a rich tapestry of sunset, when suddenly took a smack in the face by a frantically fluttering feathered friend. A baby morepork had swooped out of its natural tree and decided my head was the perfect place to faceplant. I was feather whipped.

It was gone in a flash, but the unmistakable silhouette of a little morepork dashed across the edge of the lake and back to the tree.

I know it was a ruru, because earlier it had been sitting in the tree making “Brrrrrillllll”  sounds. And contrary to popular belief, these birds actually say Brrrrrillll a lot more than they say Morepork. I’m not sure why they’re called Morepork and not Brrrrillllll  except that would be a pretty silly name for any animal. Considerably sillier than Morepork, and that’s saying something.

Whoever in Nature, who is in charge of naming things, really ran out of inspiration that day. Probably the same day they named rhinoceros, Heffalump and Push-me-pull-you. Thank goodness someone came up with zebra, or else we’d be stuck with “striped horse” which is a bit too pedestrian for my liking. Was the label ‘butterfly’ given on a good day at the naming office? I think not, probably just a typo. We know they really meant flutterby.

Anyway the point is, you never know when Nature is going to surprise. When I got up this morning, I would never have thought I’d end the day being bitchslapped by a Morepork. But there you go.

Cooked Nature

Sometimes we like to observe Nature, marvelling at its processes and complexities; appreciating all it brings, and then kill it and cook it.  I’m quite a fan of this approach to Nature. I do appreciate and respect all of Nature. I do enjoy watching and getting close to it. I also like it in batter. Or a good curry. Even raw and still squirming is good on occasions.

The thing about cooked Nature is that it’s generally free-range, organic, uncaged, low fat and takes a bit of effort and cunning to catch.  

A bit of effort

In these days of mass produced, packaged and processed food, it’s more important than ever to understand where food comes from and those who question hunting and gathering need to take a good hard look at where their sustenance originates, and the degradation of it, and the planet, that happens along the way.

Whole generations of children are growing up never understanding where, or how, their food gets to them. It’s just stuff in plastic that comes from the supermarket.

They’ve never prised a mussel off a rock with the surf breaking around, crushing it open and eating raw, complete with a bit of authentic crunchy shell and bit of sand for texture. Or waited patiently for a fish to take a hook then filleting for the family, or shooting wild game and preparing it for the table from scratch. It’s a tragedy that many will never experience the camaraderie of a hunt or the satisfaction of catching, cleaning and cooking it themselves. And the raw appreciation of the source, its sustainability and the complex fragility of the ecosystems.

Sacrifice and dedication

Next time you’re tut-tutting about barbaric practices, while tucking into a plate of fish fingers, consider the dedication of the harvester and how hard it is to hold down a squirming fish long enough to cut off its fingers.

Or the heartache in the vege patch when the baby carrots are ripped from their family beds.

The sacrifice sheep make in order for the Scots to make a haggis. Or the Japanese favourite, tuna eyeballs.

There must be an entire parallel industry in caring for schools of blind skipjack.  Not to mention the crippled amphibian crisis, after the French have munched out on frog legs.

Don’t even start me on Mountain Oysters.

Get out there people and enjoy Nature. Respect it, help sustain it, and feel free to nibble off a corner occasionally.