Today, wheelbarrow before us, Steve, Tony, myself, and little Kellene set off to the ocean to gather rocks for a soon-to-be-realized (we’ve been saying this for awhile now) walking pathway in our backyard. Little did I know, or I would not have left the house, that at the first corner we would encounter another wheelbarrow, this one being pushed by Andre* (A barrel-chested acquaintance) containing a leatherback sea turtle hacked to pieces. I’m not sure if Andre called out first or just waved one severed flipper at us to get our attention. Either way, the horror of seeing what I would easily say is the most exquisite animal I have ever gazed upon in nature chopped to bits turned both Steve and I into shocked, gaping statues. As Andre and his two friends wheeled further down the street, we still stood there until I felt, as I often do, that I had to say something. I screamed out, “You know that’s an endangered species?!” To which he responded laughingly, “Turt-lo meat tastes good!” To which, flustered, I shouted something which really made no sense, like, “But would you eat a human?,” although humans are not endangered at all. Then, seething with anger, I double flicked off the whole crew. Right in front of the church, and who knows how many peeping neighbors. Real mature, and also I’m sure, effective. I might as well have stuck my tongue out at them as well. As I stalked off towards the ocean I suddenly had a very clear understanding of what turns passionate environmentalists, and in particular animal-lovers, into crazy, blood-flinging zealots. The night that we witnessed that mother sea turtle laying her eggs on Byera Beach was easily the most blissful moment of my time here. This creature is absolutely magical, pre-historic. And to know someone, a very non-starving someone, who would mutilate it just because it apparently “tastes good” (or more likely would increase potential virility) made me want to scream “Murderer!” and demand that he be placed behind bars. As God would have it, my complete disgust at humanity was topped off by discovering that the beach where we went to collect stones could have passed for a landfill with a view. I found an old tire, and, as I often do, cried.
*Note: Steve, who doesn’t typically let anger turn him into a babbling fool, insisted that I change the name of the turtl0-killer. However, Andre*, if you read this, I do hope you feel guilty.