An End To A Season Of Pigs

And bow and accept the end. Of a love, or a season.

Every year about this time, in Kona, our full harvest of fruit arrives. This year, in addition to oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, bananas, and avocado, we have squash.

While I write this, the neighbor’s lot across from our driveway is being ripped to shreds. They have a backhoe in there. New neighbors are on the way, and the thousands of plants, shrubs, trees, flowers, and even fruit growing there, will soon be rocks, sticks, and mulch.

It is not easy to see your neighborhood change. But it is not all bad, either. The destructive pigs, sows with their piglets, sometimes birthed twice a year, have been uprooted. They have moved on. Pigs, I guess, like many of us, don’t like heavy equipment crunching every branch, boulder, and other outdoor furnishing of their nest, into smashed sticks and compost.

Over the years, we have fought the pigs and their invasive species damage with fences, alarms, camera traps, and even noise makers.

All to no avail. The pigs, or their persistent progeny, always win.

Pigs don’t belong in the islands. They cause tons of trouble from avian malaria, (when mosquitoes — also invasive — breed in pig-engineered wallows), to completely destroyed vegetable rows. In our yard, they have dug and torn more effectively than backhoes ever could.

Yet, I will miss the pigs. Seeing the tiny piglets every year was as fascinating as it is disturbing. They, like us, are smart, funny, inquisitive. They never asked to be born here, and they are hunted, trapped, shot, and stabbed, with routine disregard. In all the years I have lived here I have told people I refuse to eat factory farm pork, but I will eat wild boar. I like pork, but I detest suffering.

It looks like that bacon will never come home.

As I go about the gardens collecting fruit, I realize I am not seeing as much pig damage. How can it be, I wonder, that this doesn’t thrill me? Why, in fact, does it feel somehow sorrowful to realize the pigs, like the wooded and grassy nesting nursery, across the fence, is gone forever?

I think it has to do with our human attachment to the familiar. Nature is as predictable and true as our late winter harvest. We cannot celebrate getting tangerines when the tree is expected to produce bananas. We intuitively are put off by the unfamiliar, and especially, by sudden change.

Maybe we will get wonderful new neighbors. Maybe we will just get more traffic. Maybe we won’t hear as many roosters in the (now-fallen) trees. Maybe new neighbors will get more roosters, or even barking dogs. The unknown, the uncertain, is fearful to human beings.

For that reason, too, I may wonder as long as I live, where have you gone little piggies? Are you getting on well? Will I ever forget how much I have hated you? Or, how much I have loved, you?

No. I will not.

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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