Thursday, March 4, 2010

Stalked by death on the run.

As a Florida runner, I have looked death in the eye many times on the trail. And still I run.

Alligators, snakes, spiders, hurricanes, tornadoes, stuff that drops out of trees, poisonous insects and plants, men with evil intent lurking in shadow, wild animals, vicious dogs, deep sink holes that open up suddenly and swallow whole sections of trail in seconds …

All of it is child’s play in the face of the new peril that prowls paradise.


San Felasco Hammock State Preserve and our neighborhood in the forest have been invaded by pigs. Thousands of them. Evidently pigs find each other attractive, so there’s a whole lot of pig-love going on. By my calculations, they begin breeding when they’re a month old, their gestational period appears to be maybe a week and a half, and the minimum litter of piglets numbers about twenty. Their population is multiplying exponentially like a science experiment gone insane. I might find the plethora of pork perversely fascinating if it was happening somewhere other than here. But frankly, we already had enough to contend with. (Remember January and the comatose iguanas?)

At first, the occasional pig-sighting was novel. The Hammock dwellers tolerated them benevolently.

Then the pigs became annoying.

The Hammock dwellers installed impenetrable fortresses around well pumps and air handlers and the few surviving plants.

Then the pigs upped the ante with back-hoe-bulldozer-chainsaw-bush-hog destruction, trenching and deep rutting every night until we now dread the revelations of daybreak.

The Hammock dwellers hired professional trappers and maybe broke up some close-knit pig families with the Porcine Relocation Program.

And now the pigs have turned murderous. This week a hapless dog was attacked and nearly disemboweled by a sow.

The Hammock dwellers sounded the official neighborhood warning: The pigs are ticked off. They’re out to kill.

Uh oh. So now when I run, I round each blind corner more mindfully. My fear is that somehow the pigs know that some of the neighbors had bacon with their eggs for breakfast, and they’re out for revenge. Could this be the dawn of retribution?

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