A Question of Motives

It’s a dangerous thing to question the motives of others. Without the ability to read minds, it becomes impossible to know for certain why people do what they do. Still, we try. We project our own experience, morality, and beliefs into situations we know little about and become certain of motives about which we have only cursory knowledge. Then we judge. Oh, how we judge. We make our judgments based on limited facts and our own deep reasoning.

Being a man of only shallow reasoning, I have trouble understanding my own motives at times so how could I possible know what drives you?

Take for example my recent outdoor experience.

I recently acquired a burn barrel. Now I’m not saying she’s the love of my life, but we do spend significant time together over the weekends. I fill her up until she glows and when she flames out, I lift her in an embrace and gently empty her. If that’s not love…

There is constantly fuel for my burn barrel in our woods and I wasn’t running low, but I also had to trim the hedges. You could say I “over-trimmed” or got carried away. If one were to question my motives they might say that I was looking for more fuel because the hedges are now gone. And when I say gone, I mean not only are they removed from the front of my house, they are smoke and ash. (insert little boy insatiable grin here)

When you get the fire hot enough, newly trimmed hedges are awesome to burn because of the moisture content. They sound like nature being tortured. But what happens when we torture nature? It tortures us back. Case in point the recent story about the rhino poacher who met the elephant and his buddy Mr. Lion. Karma hurts and I found out the world of flora has teeth too.

On day 3, God was at his creative best making lush meadow grasses, mighty oaks, roses, and lilies. Yet for some reason, he decided to throw in a little hell-weed called poison ivy. I’m not questioning his motives… but why? What could possibly be the purpose.

I know what poison ivy looks like and I know what to avoid, but somehow it snuck in my burn barrel. Listen children – don’t burn poison ivy. God not only made it a topical nuisance, he decided that inhaling it in smoke should be detrimental to your health, as well. Yeah God.

I won’t detail my itchy conundrum of the last few weeks. Let’s just say it took a while to get over that little patch of stupid. 

And did I learn anything?

It’s highly unlikely. I still burn yard debris, but I am more selective and watch out for ropy vines.

I’ve been trying not to doubt God’s motives in all this. I do wonder if red ants, mosquitos, and poison ivy are his little way of getting back at us for all we do to destroy what he created on day three. In the end, it was nice that he didn’t throw any giant venus fly traps in the woods.

I wonder if they would burn?  

Nocturnal Agression

In nature, some of the most amazing things happen at night. While the moon pulls most humans into their nesting routine, a great many animals are foraging, hunting, fighting, and competing for survival. And some don’t make it until morning. It’s an epic struggle to overcome the forces of the dark. Be alert little gazelle.

If I use a dry British accent, does that sound ominous enough?

I love nature documentaries and remember being entranced by one that pits a pride of lions against a clan of hyenas. Talk about an epic struggle! The lions took down a zebra or gazelle or something (sucks to be a grass-eater in Africa) and the hyenas wanted in. They didn’t want to share though. They started nipping that the rumps of the lions. The lions kept them at bay until their nasty cackles attracted their entire clan. Then there were seemingly millions of them laughing and biting. More huge lions came and the fight went on. 

The lions looks like me when I had toddlers at TGI Fridays.

“Why can’t we ever just enjoy our meal?”

There is similar nocturnal aggression going on in my home and likely across the civilized world. It’s an ancient conflict that pits husband against wife and can be as savage as lion vs. hyena: The Blanket War.

A few nights ago, I was happily asleep, swaddled in my cocoon when I was viciously pulled from my dreams by a tug. Then another. The tug persisted and even got stronger until I roused to realize the blanket was gone. Not the whole blanket, just the nested layers I had made this cold night.

“What are you doing,” I roared.

“You don’t get all the blanket,” she replied calmly.

“You can’t just rip it off me!”

“You don’t get 2/3’s of it.”

“But I’m 2/3’s of the people in the bed.”

            I must break the thrilling dialog here to explain that while this might appear to be fuzzy math, the concept was quite sound. What I was attempting to elucidate in a sleepy haze is that I am 2/3’s of the human girth in our relationship, thus 2/3’s of the poundage in the bed and deserving of 2/3’s of the blanket.

“It doesn’t matter, I get half.”

It was then that I woke up enough to realize that I did, in fact, have nearly all of the blanket pinned under my immovable 2/3’s girth. That’s why she was tugging. She was right.

But I doubt the cackling hyena ever admits he was wrong to poach the lions hard-earned meal and I wasn’t about to admit I was hogging the blanket. 

So I did what any husband would do; I grumbled and rolled until she could get under the blanket with what I assume was a contented, smug smile. Even though I wasn’t quite as warm, I started to drift back to sleep until the answer to this nocturnal aggression hit me – double king-size blankets. They would unfold like a happy burrito shell and both partners could sleep merrily under their own 2/3’s of a blanket – making it a total of 4/3… 

While this math definitely doesn’t line up, my invention could possibly shift the balance of nature, allowing lions and hyenas to live blissfully together.

Wouldn’t the zebras be happy then.