All God’s Critters

It’s early and I am driving out to the farm. There is a fraternity of vehicles on the road this time of the morning. Every day I see the same folks coming and going. Mostly, to I don’t know where.

I turn left at the Reames’ farm and meet a small black compact with his bright lights on. Apparently, he doesn’t know or doesn’t care that his bright blue 50 bazillion kilowatt search lights nearly blind me every morning.

At the stop sign on the top of the Pine Mountain ridge a chicken truck swooshes by. Empty crates of white feathers falling like snow and a gawd-awful smell that reminds me of the suffering required for the pleasure of fried chicken. A grey SUV that I recognize. Cory’s wife headed off to teach a horde of youngins that reading, writing and ‘rithmatic are still the foundation of making something of yourself.

As I pass under the old railroad bridge, two deer dart across in front on me on their way to Callaway Gardens. I turn through the one traffic light and a cat hunkers down on the side of the road, golden eyes glowing like fire.

All God’s creatures are on the move.

It’s about this time of year that I encounter one of the more mysterious critters in my morning drive. I have no idea of what he looks like alive. I can only tell you that he makes one heck of a brownish-green runny splatter on my windshield. By the dozens. It sounds like a kid is hiding in the bushes shooting marbles at my truck. Blat! Tat! Tat! Bap! Blat-a-tat-tat! Kamikaze bugs with hard exoskeletons exploding in a death dive at 50 mph.

The odd thing is that this slaughter only occurs over one particular quarter mile stretch of Hwy 18 and nowhere else along my route. Springtime carnage of catastrophic proportions that doesn’t happen at any other time of year. The coastal regions have Love Bugs. We have B-52 bomber beetles. And it’s been going on for the last 20 years in the same spot every year right before daybreak.

“Did you get hit this morning when you came by David’s hay field?” My question to Cory needs no explanation.

“Man, those darn bugs are out again. You can set your clock by those stupid things.”

“Look at the front of my truck.” I drive a white Chevy. The front end looks like I drove through machinegun fire in the streets of Bagdad.

“I had to turn on my wipers and washer just to see where I was going.”

The morning massacre only last about six weeks, maybe. But during that time, you don’t dare drive with the window down. You, for sure, don’t hang your arm out the window. You just hunker down and plow through the storm.

Then, there’s the Blue Birds. Evvvvvvverybody loves these stinking Blue Birds. And right about now, I am a very unpopular man. I get it. They are one of God’s beautiful critters. FB is full of sweet pictures this time of year. People goohing and gawing and building Blue Bird houses and taking pictures of Blue Bird eggs in the nest. They give the couple names, like Charlie and Sue. Gooshy young love. Evvvvvvverybody’s crazy about Blue Birds.

We are covered up with Blue Birds at the tree farm. And here’s the thing. My truck is covered in Blue Bird pooh. That’s right. These little egotistical creatures are so enamored with themselves that their favorite pastime is to perch on the edge of my truck’s front door at the bottom of the window. They see themselves in the glass and in the side mirror and they absolutely lose their itty-bitty minds. It’s like they intend to mate with my truck.

Remember, they have bird brains for brains. They peck. They flutter. They claw at the mirror. And every time they do, they hike up their precious little rear ends and smear layers of pooh all over my windows and mirrors. I have no idea how they get the gun barrel aimed so stinking high.

I’m driving down the interstate the other day headed for Auburn with a load of trees. I had just washed all the mess off my windows and mirrors and doors the day before. Already, the pooh smear and the scratches are so bad I can’t tell if it’s safe to change lanes. I’m thinking this is a hazardous situation. I’m thinking, “What would Elmer Fudd do?”

We’re all put here on this earth for a reason. The guy that blinds me with his headlights on D Street every morning. The Kamikaze bugs that pelt my truck. Even these wonderful, adorable Blue Birds. But sometimes I wonder what that reason might be.

To annoy me, I think. To remind me that sometimes in life things don’t go my way. To force me to find ways to live alongside God’s critters that I don’t understand. Whose ways and habits drive me nuts. Two-legged, four-legged and winged critters who have just as much right to be here as I do.

Since man came last in the created order of things, I guess you could say that we invaded their world. We have a way of wanting all things to bend to our path, to make our life easier, to make sense to our way of thinking.

Even Max has his ways that make no sense to me sometimes. Yesterday, we’re hanging out at the farm and Max walks up with this rot-awful stench that makes my eyes water. His left front shoulder, chest and neck is covered in some greasy looking brown goo that’s rubbed into his fur down to the skin.

He’s found something dead, I guess, and said to himself, “Boy this looks interesting. I wonder what it would feel like to lay in it and rub my neck in it. Oh, gosh, this is great. Hey boss, what do you think? Ain’t this stuff the bomb?”

Number one. This is not great. Number two. No way he’s getting in the truck to go home with me. Number three. No way on God’s earth Mama is going let him or me in the house until this is cleaned up. Took me 20 minutes with carwash soap and a hose to make him somewhat tolerable again.

The pollen war seems to be about over just in time for the onslaught of brown goo season. A man can never have enough brown slimy goo in his life. Goo on his windshield. Goo on his mirrors. Goo on his dog. All God’s critters got goo.

I just got one thing left to say. Thank ya’ Lawd that Elephants don’t have wings.

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