Saturday, July 01, 2017

The Saw-Grass Adventures (Chapter Two)

 In another part of the Saw-grass, where it crests the hill and begins its slow descent toward the creek, a little field mouse named Andre and his mother were walking quietly gather nuts and seeds that were beginning to fall. Andre was a good little mouse who loved his mother very much. His father had disappeared earlier in the season. His mother told him that a hawk probably took him. Other residents of the Saw-grass said it was a Nagas, the giant black rat-snake that had captured his father.

Andre missed his dad and took it upon himself to be the “man” of the family. The mother and son strolled quietly through the tall Saw-grass gathering a seed here or there and stuffing it in their cheeks to take back home. As they wandered and gathered they found themselves nearing Sun Rock.

Sun Rock was a large sandstone rock in the middle of the Saw-grass. It was large enough to open up the Saw-grass and allow the sun to shine on the rock and warm it up. Many small animals and insects came to the rock throughout the day to either see the sun on its journey across the land of the Saw-grass or enjoy the warmth of the sun and the rock. However, today, in the middle of the day, not a soul was to be seen. As they came nearer Andre was in awe of the rock. It appeared to glow because of all the little grains of sand reflecting the sun and the little white stones embedded in the rock appeared as miniature suns.

The stone was so attractive that the two mice gave very little thought as to why no one was on the stone today. Andre and his mother climbed up onto the rock and sat quietly enjoying the warmth. Both of them closed their eyes and let their thoughts wander. As they sat there in the quiet enjoying the warmth of the sun above and the rock below, Andre could hear a faint buzzing sound that seemed like it was coming from the rock. At that very instant a shadow passed over top of them. Andre’s mother’s heart nearly stopped. She knew that that shadow meant only one thing, a hawk.

Run, Andre, run,” shouted his mother.

By this time both of the mice had opened their eyes and saw the hawk approaching at an incredible speed. Andre began to run off the south side of the rock but just as he was preparing to leap he was struck by something and rolled off the opposite side. He landed on his back and watched the hawk crash through the Saw-grass, break free and begin to climb back into the sky.
As Andre looked on he noticed that the hawk’s claws were empty.
As he looked across the surface of Sun Rock he could see a flurry of activity on the other side. Hundreds of yellow-jackets were swarming around that area of the rock. Andre slowly and quietly crawled back into the saw grass and made his way around to the South side of Sun Rock to get a better look at what was going on. As he drew closer the buzzing sound of the yellow-jackets was almost deafening. He covered his tiny ears and watched in horror because there was nothing he could do.

As he sat watching the horrible scene tears streamed down his face as he realized his mother sacrificed her life for his. When the hawk had approached and his mother told him to run she had already learned why there was a buzzing noise coming from the rock and why no one else was at Sun Rock that day. A group of yellow-jackets had built a nest underneath Sun Rock using an old ground-mole tunnel entrance. When she told Andre to run he started to run right towards the opening to the nest. His mother ran in front of him and with all her might threw him to the other side of Sun Rock. However, this effort threw her directly into the opening of the nest. After the first two stings she no longer suffered.

Andre watched and cried till no more tears would come. He turned and wandered aimlessly through the Saw-grass thinking of his mother and his father and how he was now completely alone in this world. The more he thought of all that had happened to him the angrier he became. He wanted to get even with the yellow-jackets, the hawk, and with the other residents of Saw-grass for not warning them. With every step he took he became more and more angry. Many of the residents tried to approach him and comfort him but he would lash out at them and call them names. Pretty soon all the residents of Saw-grass were angry with him and the entire atmosphere of the place went from peace to hostility. No one spoke kindly or helped one another.

Andre,” came a voice from high above his head. “I’m sorry about what happened to your mother. She will be greatly missed in the Saw-grass.

Andre looked up and saw Lawrence slowly descending from the tops of the grass. Andre turned away and sat with his back to Lawrence.

Being angry is understandable,” began Lawrence. “However, you can’t let your anger last forever. It can hurt you very badly if you allow it to burn inside.

It won’t burn forever,” said Andre. “It will only burn until I have chance to make things right, until I have a chance to get back at the hawk and the yellow-jackets.”

Do you really think that will make things right,” asked Lawrence who was now standing directly behind Andre.

Andre thought about this question for a moment. Inside he knew that it would not make things right. He knew that nothing he did could bring his mother or father back. Yet, deep inside he wanted to make somebody or everybody pay for the way he was feeling. He wanted everyone to feel the same thing he was feeling at this moment. He blamed himself, the hawk, the yellow-jackets, and all the residence of Saw-grass.

No, I don’t think it will make things right but it may make me feel better,” said Andre at last.

Everyone,” began the praying mantis “everyone here in Saw-grass has experienced what you are feeling at one time or another in their lives. This is natural. It is a normal part of life here. There is so much death that takes place daily but also so much life. It is a hard part of growing up in Saw-grass but we must be ready for death as well as life.

I am ready for death now,” cried Andre. “I am ready for someone’s death!

Andre,” said Lawrence “the choice is yours. You can choose to take your revenge or to help this to never happen again. The choice is yours but the choice will not affect you alone.

With that, Lawrence silently lifted from the ground and disappeared into the thick grass leaving Andre alone once more.

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Mother's Day Weekend.