Monday, August 11, 2008

The Badger Has Come To Roost





The badger. The most feared and hated beast in the history of beasts. The first beast that made it quite apparent that beastiality was a terrible idea. I have met many a badger victim in my lifetime......they are withdrawn, hesitant to look you in the eye, and never speak above a whisper. Always, they are horribly scarred, and sometime the mental scars are even more glaring than the physical ones. When I ask about these people about their badger attacks, they never get very far into their stories. It's always something like "I thought it was just a nightmare....." or "It came from behind...." or "I never even saw it.....".....survivors of badger attacks always seem to trail off, their eyes growing distant after just uttering a few words. Grown men are reduced to whimpering children, shadows of their former selves. It has become apparent to me that once you see that snarling, gray blur going for your ankles, that there simply cannot be a God. No omnipotent being would unleash something as cruel as this onto the earth unless he had a deep, profound hatred of mankind.

Fortunately, this friendly fellow (or loveable lass?) didnt do much more than look at me, even though I ended up standing right next to him, and I have lived to tell the tale. Buddy The Badger here was photographed about a year ago north of Susanville, California. He lived in the sagebrush next to a homeless man (this is true) who had no business living in the sagebrush. San Diego and Arcata have good habitat for homeless people......not The Great Basin. I have wondered occasionally what has happened to that badger and his homeless comrade (indeed, the badger's burrow was much more impressive than the guy's "camp") in the past year. Is Buddy still alive? Is Buddy in the same burrow? Even on the same hill?

Mammals rarely leave the impression on me that birds do, so my encounter with Buddy was a special occasion, and serves as a good marker for events that have unfolded in the last year. What have I accomplished? Have I gained valuable new experiences necessary for my survival, or am I just putting on fat and sitting in the same dirty burrow that I was last year? Its a mixed answer, to be sure.

Something (was it the badger?) told me in the back of my mind last year that I was not going to become a permanent fixture in San Francisco, although I have (and continue to) enjoy it for the most part. In Y2K7, the year The Badger Has Come To Roost, my only epic trip I made after moving to San Francisco was for THANKSFORNOTHINGY2K7, which remains one of the most positve and violence free weekends Ive ever had. This year, which has yet to be named, I have made escapes to The Imperial Valley and environs, southeast Arizona, Mono Lake, and now all the stops on the PANAMERICANPERPETUALWEEKENDY2K8 are being lined up. The shadow of Midway Island looms over me like The Plague, consuming me. The writing is on the wall. I must escape. The year of the albatross is at hand.

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