We have a birdfeeder that has been sitting dormant most of the summer. It seemed like a good idea at the time. If it was nice to view the birds from afar, how about if you brought them up close to the window? So we hung our feeder where we can see it from the TV room. It was quaint for a while. The wildlife came, Bluejays, Cardinals, Sparrows, all manner of winged creatures from God’s creation, along with some creeping and crawling from the dark places. And therein lies the rub.
I think the saying “If you build it, they will come” has proven true in our own back yard. The last thing you really want in your back yard is a taste of real nature, because you will get the bad along with the good. Once established, the bad may even drive out the good. It all went south when my wife screamed. She had noticed an enormous rat scurrying by in broad daylight. It had been feeding on all that free food that careless birds dropped down alongside the seed hulls. They simply had to call their buddies and dig in. I am not squeamish, but rats scurrying about their business where you live is something nobody wants. Having rats around with the only barrier a screen door, can make you a little anxious about what might come into the house. I was put on rat duty. My wife wanted them gone.
I reminded her how the rats came in the first place because nothing happens in a vacuum. It was from her gardening. She wanted to recycle, by burying kitchen scraps and egg shells as compost for the flower beds. While the scraps mysteriously vanished every day we started to notice that our visitation from pests and vermin was on the rise. Then there was the day when I was watering my wife’s plants and turned around to face a skunk who seemed very at home in broad daylight and not in a hurry to leave. He had grown accustomed to digging up all that free food. We were all just too inviting of the wrong parties, the freeloaders and vermin of nature, who creep in when we are not looking.
And so it is, that evil is opportunistic. We live in what I thought was quite a safe area, until I awoke one morning and discovered the wheel of my car stolen in the front driveway. The offender was not good with a jack. His collapsed and was abandoned under my car. He also left behind his beer, which was propped up comfortably on the driveway for a sip while he was doing his nocturnal dirty work. My car was sitting flat on the ground with the metal around the wheel hub crushed, and my insurance representative seemed quite sanguine about it all. His first question was how much my deductable was, as he continued his golf game unperturbed. Of course it was not worth pursuing. The police said as much. Their visit was a cursory footnote to whatever else had gone on in their day. They did have some advice to pass on.“Did you ever think of putting up security cameras? It’s a good deterrent. You want the bad guys to see you won’t be messed with and just keep on moving.”
The worst of what you have invited, is having to deal with your own mess. Our birdfeeder experience evolved into a rat catching experience, and worse, the disposal of dead rats which is something nobody really wants to be stuck with. It is the least of the troubles out there, but unfortunately the ones close to my own back yard. I am not living in a vacuum. I have merely to read the daily news to get a sense of the trouble at the ready for any given day, from all those unsavoury people with not much to do. All that is necessary, is to let your guard down, by imaginging that bad stuff could never happen in your own back yard. You have to keep your eyes open.
“Malo accepto stultus sapit”. It’s an old saying, old enough to come down to us from the Latin when the Romans were running things. It translates as, “From his troubles a fool is made wise.” Be careful what you invite. Evil is opportunistic. If you build it, they will come.