Natural Instint - Jul 20th 2009 @ 10:57AM
by Matt Stone



Natural Instinct

            One time my wife and I took our kids to the lake.  We met some other family members and friends; it was a pretty big crowd.  After awhile we went swimming and as I slipped into the water, I began to feel the transformation take place.  As the water washed off the cares of the world, I began to feel natural.  The natural instinct of the animal kingdom was starting to emerge:   the predator prey relationship.

            Now one of my favorite animals is the logger head turtle.  It’s been around since the beginning of time.  Those old logger heads just walk along the bottom the lake and the other aquatic life gives them the right-of-way.  If you have never seen a logger head before, they’re pretty incredible.  They have an almost impregnable shell that’s covered in a mossy like algae, leather-like skin around their mid section, a hard underbelly, long claws on their feet, and a head that looks like sledge hammer.  They remind me of an amphibious tank; what a magnificent creature.

            Sometimes, logger heads come to the surface of the water just to catch a breath of air and see what’s going on top side.  As I began to mentally take on the attributes of a turtle, I found myself in about chest deep water hunkered down with my nose at the water line with only my eyes and top of my head exposed.  I was a content predator soaking in the sun enjoying my family and friends; life was good.

            Then it happened.   The prey entered the water. A friend of my sister had just stepped into the edge of the water, about ankle-deep.  As she gracefully eased deeper into the water, a primeval urge took over. Next, she was in up to her knees and then waist deep; she had definitely moved into my line of sight.  Meanwhile, I was moving in for the take down.  I had positioned myself between the lake bank and her; oh, I’m sorry; I mean…the prey.

            When we were kids and swam in ponds all the time, wrestling and rolling each other in the mud was just a way of life.  I soon found that it had been my way of life, not my prey’s.  I stealthily made my way in, not a ripple in the water and gave the prey a good, old fashioned mud roll.   Naturally I let her up from under the water with plenty of air to spare in her lungs.  What happened next is still a blur.  You see she had a natural side too, and hers just happened to mimic a bobcat.  Everyone knows cats don’t like water, and she made that abundantly clear.  After she exited the mud roll, walking on top of the water, I soon found out why she was part bobcat.

            I eased on over and asked, "Buddy, what’s up with her?"   He smiled and said, “You mean you don’t know?”   No I didn’t know; it was just a mud roll.  Seems like when she was about age nine, she had almost drowned while swimming and developed a phobia of water and except for taking a bath, this was the first time she had enough nerve to enter the water in twenty-five years and was the recipient of a good old fashioned mud roll.  Talk about timing.

            Next, I did the only thing I knew to do.  I gave her a couple of hours to cool down to at least a rolling boil, and I went over and apologized to her for my inappropriate behavior and ill-timed demonstration of my predatory skills.  Soon, all was well again and we enjoyed the rest of the day without much fanfare.

            I've been swimming in many lakes rivers and streams since then, and I still feel that natural turtle feeling upon entry into the water, but I have been able to keep my natural urge in check when it comes to mud rolls. After all, we logger heads have never been accused of being the brightest amphibian in the lake just the baddest.


Naturally Yours,

Matt Stone




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