The day of reckoning had arrived for the furry little brown groundhog caught in my live trap. I grabbed my green gardening gloves and headed out to collect my capture. Even though some intelligent trap-engineer had made the portion of the cage underneath the handle solid, I still wore gloves. I wasn’t taking any chances. After all, my fingers are only slightly more solid than the zucchini he munched.
I walked from the garden to my car, holding the cage as far away from my body as physically possible. I set the trapped rodent in the trunk, atop a couple layers of trash bags. I left the trunk open and headed into the house to collect the kids and my purse. Leaving the trunk open for a few minutes, as opposed to shutting him up in the ninety degree heat of a black trunk while the kids and I gathered the rest of our things seemed more humane. And that was just the start of my internal problems.
I drove the back roads to my in-laws’ house, keeping an unusually careful eye on the speedometer. The last thing I wanted was to get pulled over for speeding and then have the policeman decide to inspect the car and open the trunk and discover a caged wild animal. I’d really prefer not to end up on an episode of COPS.
“Mama, can we open the armrest and look into the trunk at the groundhog?” Little Miss and T-Rex asked. They find it amusing that they can open a spot in the backseat and look into the trunk. Especially when there’s a live animal in there.
“Absolutely not! Keep that backseat closed!”
“Aw…but he’s sooo cute!!” T-Rex crooned. He has a soft spot for all things furry. Even if it has been eating our hard-won garden.
“He is not cute! He’s a groundhog! And he ate our garden!”
“But Mama, what if he has to go to the bathroom?” Little Miss asked.
Sigh. “That’s why I put down the trash bags.”
“But, what if he has to go….you know…number two?” she asked again.
Oh my word.
“He’ll just go on the trash bags!” T-Rex said.
Here we were, driving 55 miles per hour down country back roads, with a caged groundhog sliding around in the trunk, and the topic of concern is the doomed wild animal’s bathroom habits.
Yet, a piece of me found the kids’ concern for the small animal to be appropriate. Their natural concern served a small reminder for the way the world should be – caring for nature around us, helping those who are weaker, looking out for another’s needs, even though your rights and property may have been infringed upon.
The fact that I had a groundhog sliding around in the trunk was evidence of the fact that we live in a world that is not as it should be. The groundhog in the trunk was a reminder of the destruction not just in my garden, but of the destruction that begin in another Garden long ago.
Destruction spurred by a serpent and a horribly wrong choice. When man and woman first battled with each other over whose fault it was. When mankind’s battle with God began, and He cursed them with hard work and weeds and painful child rearing. When God banished them from the Garden. (Genesis 3)
Ever since then we’ve been at war with each other, with God, with nature, with wildlife, with weeds. With everything it seems.
I heard the cage slide to the other side of the trunk. My shoulders dropped and I hunched over the steering wheel, willing it all to be over. No, not just the trip and the groundhog problem, but all of the destruction and strife.
I hold the hope that someday we can return to the Garden. That in a future time and place we will know peace – with each other, with nature, with God. That we might experience the world as it was meant to be. And until that time, I search for little pieces of Eden every day – times where there is joy and peace and unity, a breather from the bigger battle at hand.
I dropped the caged groundhog off at my in-laws’ house, and knocked on the door. My brother-in-law answered.
“I left a present for you under the tree.”
“Thanks for helping me out with this,” I said as I headed back to my car. I got out of there as fast as I could.