Diamonds in the Rough

We all have our reasons why.
Why we like  red instead of blue, sweet instead of sour, tuba instead of bagpipes.  Perhaps it's genetically coded in and we have no one to blame but our forefathers and mothers who were either hunters or gatherers
back when it all began.
I'm pretty sure I'm from the gathering clan.
There's a body of evidence that would seem to indicate that this is true.
 I like nuts.
And berries.
Salads I sometimes crave.
Coleslaw? Yum.
And tender green shoots in spring? Heaven.

I am NOT a hunter.
Although some of the clan have tried on occaision to convert me.
Once I actually went hunting for partridge with two of the members of the  Hunting Clan. They put a shotgun in my hands, showed me how to load a shell in it, aim, and fire. Then left me standing amidst a bramble of raspberry canes
and told me to shoot when they flushed out a bird.
So, there I was licking raspberry juice off my fingers, admiring all the butterflies flitting about when this gray fluffy bird came streaking 
right over my head!
I ducked and yelled, dropped the gun which fired off into the bushes, hopefully not hitting anything, and sat down and started shaking and babbling away,
apologizing profoundly to all creatures great and small for even contemplating shooting one of them.
Never again.
That the was the moment when I knew I was a gatherer.

But it's no a simple thing. There's much more to being a gatherer than just picking berries and eating candied pralines.
Over the years, I have come to realize that it impacts my lifestyle and the choices I make in dozens of subtle, and some not so subtle, ways.

I live on a beach. Beside a river.
This river abounds with wildlife -both the hunting and the gathering kind.
I 've seen bear, fox, deer, mink, beaver, porcupine, raccoon, rabbit, otter, mouse and moose; fish, frogs, snakes, newts, turtles and lizards.
Lots of birds and bugs and butterflies.
And I've come to realize that this beach is their home as much,
if not much more than, it is mine.

My neighbours, who only live here in the summer think I'm a little
wonky -or maybe a lot wonky. I love the reeds in front of our place.
It's not rocket science to figure out that this is an important part of the natural life around here. Why some would go so far as to recognize that it's Habitat.
And that it should be left alone.
My neighbour's disagree. They call it weeds, and every Sunday morning in the summer, they can be seen on the beach with their rakes, their ATV's and their rusty bedsprings, dragging through the weeds in front of their places.
They prefer desertscape to riparian area.
They have offered numerous times to kill the weeds out front of our place.
I have told them numerous times that those reeds and grasses serve a very special  function, providing food sources for some, cover for others, and protecting the entire beach from erosian. Meh!
They don't care.
Their rough patch is my diamond mine.
And so we have agreed to disagree.
And when they mention in passing that there doesn't seem to be as many swallows or butterflies as before, I just look at them, then invite them over
to our place to watch the river flow.