I Am a Nature God!

For the record, all of these animal encounters are 100% true.

Do you ever step outside, only to get the feeling that mother nature has it out for you, and, like the villain of a bad mystery novel, is bent on exacting only the most unexpected forms of revenge? I once felt that way. Every journey into the great outdoors was an offensive into a hostile environment filled with petal-covered trebuchets launching pollen spores at my sinuses.

I’ve collapsed from heat stroke and hypothermia, battled off armies of ticks, and nearly been struck by lightning. Cats have scratched me, birds have pooped on me, and skunks have sprayed me. Bees of both the common and bumble variety have pumped their poison into my flesh, and every time I go to Sea World I get the distinct impression that the fish are leering at me.

I began to fear nature at a very young age when some decidedly unpatriotic Raccoons laid waste to my green plastic army men. I used to love arranging those guys into epic battles between imagined nations. But one night I left my troops in a particularly dramatic tableau, and when I woke up, I found that neither The United States of Awesome nor Soviet Russ were any match for the great nation of Raccoon.

As time passed and I grew up, Nature began to raise the stakes. Every summer, unable to resist the water’s clarion call, I’d venture  into the  sea, only to be stung by literally hundreds of Jellyfish, apparently hell-bent on irritating my calves.

But one jellyfish is ruler of them all: The Portuguese Man of War. It’s a massive array of blue tentacles, topped with a purple, nightmarish Mohawk, and filled with enough deadly venom to kill a small yak. I’d never given the creature much thought, but one day, when I was snorkeling through the pristine Hawaiian waters, I suddenly found my neck wrapped in tentacles.

I flailed about, managing to informatively sputter “I am inside a jellyfish!” Driven, undoubtedly, by anti-poison instincts, I tore at the tentacles with my bare hands, ripping through them as if they were mere strands of gelatinous creature-parts, then high-tailed it for shore. The rest of the day was spent icing down the huge red welt trails that made it look as if I’d befallen some mishap whilst enjoying a bit of sadomasochism.

The attacks didn’t stop as I grew older. On a visit to Alcatraz, I was repeatedly dive-bombed by a fury-gull, either because I’d inadvertently gotten too close to her nest or because she was a prisoner reincarnate, displeased that I was desecrating the jail grounds of her past life. On a canoeing trip down the Colorado river, I got 48 mosquito bites in a single night, despite being covered in head-to-toe netting and repeatedly coating myself in noxious waves of bug repellant. My best friend only got 2, neither of which was on his eyelid. And once, during a solar eclipse, Fire Ants swarmed me, perhaps incensed that I had blotted out their god.

And just last spring, at the opening of X-Men: First Class, I was bitten by a black widow. I didn’t find out that that was the creature responsible until the week after, however. I only felt a tingling on my unguarded toe, and when I tried to scratch it, (unknowingly angering the spider that had made my foot his new residence), I found myself in excruciating pain. In the name of cinema, I did my best to ignore it.

But by the next morning, my foot had swollen to twice its normal size, I had the poison shakes, and my temperature was a healthy 103. I had to cancel my second ever Vegas trip, and since the movie was on a Friday afternoon, I couldn’t go to a doctor until Monday.

In the end, I concluded I’d been bitten during the wrong superhero movie. If it had starred Peter Parker instead of Beast, maybe I would’ve ended up with the ability to stick to walls instead of having giant blue feet.

But back to the list.

A Squirrel bit me while I was feeding it, prompting my mom to hysterically demand I be tested for rabies, Kookaburras are always laughing at me, and once a Coyote stole an entire pie from me on a camping trip!

For years, I was sure that nature had it out for me, that no matter what I did, the creatures of the world would conspire with clicks, chirps, and roars to rain down on me as many bites and stings as possible.

But I had it all wrong, you see. Nature doesn’t hate me. It loves me!


You may think it’s just the leftover venom coursing through my veins talking, but for the first time I’m finally seeing things clearly. Pollen wants to party in my sinuses. The sun wants to caress me the only ray it knows how, and the raccoons thought they were defending me from an enemy army. It all makes so much sense!

If you were a skunk and all you had to offer was your spray, would you not gladly give it up to prove your devotion? Would not the bees break off their stingers in my skin, an insectoid sacrifice in honor of their lord? The Man of War was giving me a tentacle-y hug, and Mosquitoes merely think they’re following doctrine when they drink my blood. I bet they even go home and eat wafers afterward.

I was so focused on the hurts nature had enacted upon me that I forgot the joy of it all. I forgot the time that Blue Jay landed in my hand and chattered away happily as though life were a Disney film. I forgot the feeling of catching a wave beside a playful Dolphin, of petting a Cat curled happily on my lap, and of hiking through the woods, light sprinkling the forest floor with half-obscured rays that shine through the dancing leaves of the trees.

For every horrific encounter, there’s the time I was surrounded by a kaleidoscope of Monarch Butterflies passing through on their annual migration, or the night I swam in the Red Tide,  the trails of my strokes aglow with surreal blue light.

Why else would a Guinea pig have made a pilgrimage to my house, if not to choose me as a master? Why else would a South African Turaco appear in my neighborhood, if not to delight us with its exotic songs? Why else, on that rainy night when I took shelter beneath the arches of a church, did hundreds of bats encircle me, wings glinting in the moonlight?

Like the rain god from So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, I am forever cursed with the unwavering love of the creatures of the world, and no matter how much I try to deny the truth, I will never be able to rebuke their devotional bites and stings.

So I might as well embrace it. Next time I see a bear, I think I’ll go say hi.


Filed under Stories

51 responses to “I Am a Nature God!

  1. Love it! Fantastic writing and even more impressive artwork!

  2. This makes so much sense! …Sam, you have outdone yourself on that Nature God illustration.

    • I know, right? I’ve never looked so good! And based on where all the animals are directing their stares, I feel like Sam really gave me the benefit of the doubt in loin department.

  3. “Raccoons ate my army dudes. Raccoons. Raccoons.” LMAO I love it so much.

  4. … it look as if I’d befallen some mishap whilst enjoying a bit of sadomasochism.

    Had that been true, I bet it would have been so worth it, noh?

  5. Hilarious!
    I’m surprised you didn’t call on your minions for protection when you were harassed by the po-lice! 🙂

  6. writingandrecovering

    Love it! It makes so much sense, too. Nature must hate me.

    • If nature hates you, does that mean you almost never get bitten or stung or sprayed? If so, do you have any interest in trading lives? This god thing can be sort of painful.

  7. I can’t believe I’m going to be walking around singing Kookaburra for the rest of the day. <.<

  8. Rae

    My husband and I went to Hawai’i for our honeymoon and we got chased by a flock of angry peacocks. It’s funny in retrospect, but at the time it was really terrifying.

  9. I was once forced to seek refuge on the top of a picnic table by a group of grey kangaroos at a campsite in New South Wales. Adorable animals, but I’m not much of a boxer.

    • Were they attacking? Do kangaroos attack? I thought they were just cute. What do they even want? Do they eat human food or something? I’m starting to realize I know nothing about kangaroos.

      • No, they were begging me for food. I was happy to oblige, until I ran out. They then began to surround me, getting more insistent. I tried to improvise, but they weren’t interested in eating grass. I think they could sense my fear building. To be honest, it was actually pretty scary. They’re generally docile, from what I’ve heard, but they have been known to seriously injure/kill people.

        • Hahahahahahaha! I feel awful about laughing at your experience, though. I can imagine it as pretty scary. What if they got to you! “Survivor of a kangaroo attack” doesn’t have the same badass ring to it as “survivor of a bear attack” or something.

        • Eggzackerly. Skippy may be cute, but kangaroos have been known to disembowel people before. They got some pretty sharp claws attached to those powerful legs.

  10. Best post (and art…and hovertext) yet! You’re obviously one of nature’s favorite toys…or test subjects. Both?

  11. …oh yeah, maybe you should avoid Australia if you haven’t already been there. Poisonous critters galore!

  12. omicronceti3

    So very funny! I’m still laughing at the mighty raccoon dispatching the army men…. And I too loved the hover text. Hey, perhaps you can communicate a universal safe word to the animal kingdom that we can all use when attacked — maybe cacao?

  13. This might explain why the one and only time I was stung by a bee was between my breasts. I thought it was just alarmed by falling down my shirt when I hit it at 20 mph while biking. But, I guess it was really paying homage to my magnificent bosom.

  14. Reminds me of the movie “Failure to Launch.” Not the inability to grow up part, but the relationship with nature, although, in your case your “change” happened because of a change in perspective (or rather comedic relief if you will) than because of some life change. In any case, you certainly are a nature god if I ever saw one.

  15. Probably don’t go walking in the bush around where I live, lest the Death Adders seek communion with their lord.

    And also I too have a way with Kookaburras. One of them stole my doughnut in sixth grade.

    • The death adders! Is that a Harry Potter thing?

      And a Kookaburra really stole your doughnut? What kind was it? (So I can use that variety to attempt to summon Kookaburras to me in the future)

      • As dangerous as death eaters. They’re tiny, camouflaged, and ambush their prey with lightning speed. They’re one of the most venomous land snakes in the world and they’re a dime a dozen in the bush.

        Also it was a sort of plain cinnamon doughnut. They were running rampant at my primary school. They used to hope into people’s laps and steal their lunch right from their lunchboxes. I think they were affiliated with the Calabrian Mafia. :/

  16. Don’t say hi to the bear! I’m sure it’d love you, but little too much, I think. xD I would like to hear the lightning story. Did you call it down from the heavens, Nature God? 😛

    • I think Thor called it down, but maybe as a favor to me? I’m not sure how these things work exactly. And you’re probably right about the bear. Maybe instead of saying hi I’ll just steal his porridge.

  17. “The sun wants to caress me the only ray it knows how”

    hahahaha russ, you are the man

    -spicy joe

  18. I love ♥ LOVE ♥ the petal-covered trebuchet! Don’t they remove part of your brain to test you for rabies?

    • Yes, Sam works wonders. Though you should’ve seen the concept art I sent him. That was really something. (It was not something).

      I have been wondering where that piece of brain went. I’m always trying to remember, but I think they removed the memory part of the brain.

  19. What a great read! It’s wonderful to be able to see that the glass is indeed half full. Of course (and sorry for being morbid here) I think that at the end of our days, we’d be hard pressed to put a positive spin on that pile of maggots eating our decomposing flesh. Have a nice day, though! 😛

    • Well, even if we can’t put a positive spin on it, maybe there will be enough maggots to fill a glass to the halfway point.

      I’m sure someone would enjoy having a half full glass of maggots, right?

  20. Heh heh. Brilliant post, as per usual.

    On a rather unrelated note, I’m not sure what the fluffy grey thing is on the bottom-right corner of your blog-header… But I want one.

  21. Jenn Jennings

    I’m so glad you’ve realized your place in the grand scheme of the natural world! Keep in mind your godhood only applies to the landmass where you reside, and you can’t pass them to your progeny, regardless of whether you know of them or not. 😉

    • Blast! I was hoping I’d be able to identify my scattered progeny via their nature god powers. Oh well.

      Also, this means that if I go to Australia, I won’t be a god there? I feel like that’s a good thing, especially after Boggleton Drive’s Kangaroo adventures.

  22. No one would blame you if you became agoraphobic…
    Too funny!

    • I think I’ve been headed that direction for a while now. The loving glow of the computer screen seems rather safe, though even then I often happen upon pictures of animals.

  23. Pingback: The Battle of the Gull | Reasonably Ludicrous

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