Source: The Independent

Surviving In The Wilderness

by Rick Murphy

January 16, 2013

Here in the Hamptons we have preserved thousands of acres of woodlands, areas kept in their natural state so that rare birds, animals and ticks can propagate without the bothersome intrusion of human beings.

Many homeowners bought houses bordering these preserves. This is because the solitude offers time for reflection, and also allows grown men to fulfill their fantasy of walking through the woods and pretending they are Davy Crockett.

But these woodlands aren’t “virgin” in the sense that we know the word – ugly girls with pigtails and braces. No, these woodlands, even though they are preserved, have trails the public uses for an assortment of reasons, like pretending to be Davy Crockett.

Unfortunately, some folks bought their homes without realizing the nature preserve that abuts their property is in reality like 42nd Street – folks come parading through at all hours of the day and night.

I have nothing against the trail walkers. Once last year Karen wanted to join them. “This sounds interesting,” she said. “Everyone is going to meet at midnight and walk down to the marshes under a full moon. Do you wanna go?” It was February. It was 14 degrees out. Are these people vampires?

My friend, whom I’ll call Dave (because that’s his name) first noticed these unwanted trail walkers after he moved in last summer. He was sound asleep poolside when he heard rustling in the woods behind him. Sure enough a parade of freakazoids appeared. “Hark! I see a red bellied warbling warbler!” one screamed out. “Methinks I see a three-toed brown chested Eurasian Woodcock!”

Yes, Dave was being invaded by a motley bunch of birdwatchers hell bent on looting, and, I assured him, anal rape.

Here is a characteristic all bird-watchers share: 1) They all speak with an English accent, even though most of them come from Corona; 2) They dress funny and wear ugly hats; 3) They are delusional. I say this with confidence, because I have lived here all my life, and like all locals I know for a fact there are only three species of birds.

Birdwatcher: “Hark, I see, an Oriental Pratincole!”

Me: “No, that’s a sparrow.”

Birdwatcher: “Oh, Maggie, ‘tis a sparrow. How many have we seen?”

Maggie: “One million, eight hundred thousand, and eleven so far -- today.”

There are sparrows, there are crows, and there are sea gulls. Everything else you see the sky is a freaking bug, trust me.

Nature lovers worry me, because they lurk in our woodlands, disturbing the natural order, and scaring away god’s creatures that call the dense woods home, like trail bikers. To me, a real nature lover should stay holed up at home reading National Geographic and watching Crocodile Dundee.

Speaking of bugs, they are but one of the evils that lurk in the dense woods behind Dave’s hammock. There are also the assorted rashes in waiting like poison oak, poison ivy, poison sumac etc. Then there are the poison berries and mushrooms. And anyone who tells you there are no dangerous snakes around here is lying. And of course, vampires and Wolf-Boys and all the other half-humans Kristen Stewart cheats on. Then of course, the roaches and rats -- oh wait, they are in Dave’s pool house.

A couple years back several people claimed a beaver was living in Northwest Woods. This was big news to nature lovers because there hasn’t been a beaver in these parts since the Cleavers and Wally left town. Maybe it was true, maybe not. Last year several people claimed to have seen a puma in town.

I have several friends left over from the sixties who see strange things all the time – one swears he sees a giant spider with kaleidoscope eyes whose brain is melting through the eye sockets, with tie-dyed intestines trailing out the belly button. I just tell him he’s having a flashback, a bad trip. “No, man, it’s not a bad trip, I’m digging it,” he says. Whatever floats your boat, Moondog.

The point is -- and there is one in here somewhere -- is that it won’t be long before a bear is spotted in these parts. That’s when all the trail walkers and bird watchers will get what’s coming to them, because the bear will be ravenous after sitting on the Jitney for hours with only a tiny bag of pretzels.

Davy Crockett “kilt him a bear when he was only three.” Maybe those of us who still think a raccoon hat is a fashion statement are onto something. Memo to trail walkers; next time you are on a midnight walk be afraid, be very afraid.

And keep a crucifix handy, too.