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  • A Request From Rjailphl, resident WILD ANIMAL.

    Rjailphl says…

    My affectionate nibbling of the lily shoots and dandelion greens could hardly be called "savage." And if it is savage behavior then I would like very much to be enlightened on the full and proper definition of that title. By savage, do you perhaps mean "naturalist," or "local tradition keeper?" By savage do you perhaps mean, "not brainwashed?" For when you say that I am not tame I think you are overlooking my self-respect, family responsibilities and my right to mind my own dam building business.

    To call a sensitive and utterly exquisite (if I may be so frank) creature such as myself is to put down my lifestyle when you call me a savage beast. My lifestyle of chewing, hiding, swimming, sleeping and providing for my young is not all that different from yours. "Savage beast" reduces me and my family to hurtful stereotypes, because it assumes in an undertone that we are violent, dangerous and cruel. Stereotypes are hurtful because it is only a matter of time before the eviction notices, murder and then rodent genocide begins. It is only a matter of time before the forest is ripped "clean" and the creek polluted beyond redemption.

    But to call me savage is not the worst name you have labeled me. No, "Walking Pelt" is by far the worst the most vulgar slur you've pitched in the past month. Are you really so careless or do you truly wish me harm? Why? I have no such hurtful words to noun you with. Also, my teeth serve me to cut and collect timber. They are handsome! I can handle light giggling, I suppose, but when that laughter is paired with course language and name calling, I am saddened and frustrated. It is enough for me just to survive in my habitat each day without the added worries of your unkind and suspect behavior. Can we live in peace my friend? I certainly intend to.

    Respectfully yours,

  • The last time I saw our Woodchuck he was in the ditch and looked as though he would have crossed the street if I hadn't scared him back into the brush by riding my bike past him. At that moment I worried about him, people hit possums, skunks and squirrels all the time on our street. Woody was my neighbor, every day around 5 o'clock Woody came out and mowed the area around the poplar tree, fattening up on clover as I watched with my binoculars. Such magnificent hindquarters Woody had. Yes, he had. I just left town for a week and when I came back I received the news that my Dad found Woody very still in the street. Immaculately intact, but dead. There was a small bit of blood on his head, but the rest of him was shiny thick fur, plump healthy body and prairie doggish erect posture. My Dad picked him up and wheeled him into the wooded area to decompose in the open, the way woodchucks ought to. But no woodchuck ought to be hit by a car, so please slow down.

    Before I had left town and before Woody was killed, I wrote that letter of request from Rjailphl, WILD ANIMAL.
    I was concerned then, and awfully sad now.
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