• porcupine •

• porcupine •
I slowed for a porcupine this morning. It seemed in no itching hurry to get off of the road. Languidly, it began to saunter off. Well, sort of.
A porcupine has a particular way of walking: slowly, methodically, it winds it’s way to wherever, but not lackadaisically; there is evident economy of motion: “Slowly, slowly, wins the day,” it seems to say.
(The walk seems studied. At all times, a very careful placement of limbs, held far from the torso, to better approximate the ideal mode of locomotion, that of lumbering; it’s a plod, admittedly, but it doesn’t hurt, seemingly, and goes some way to explain its apparent universal porcupine appeal: which, come to think of it, makes a kind of sense. In fact, categorically.)
It’s a plodding life, and a good one. But to learn it, and thoroughly, must entail a kind of prickly, spiny hell.
The porcupine lifestyle must have peculiar associations from the crèche. Sharp childhood memories make for lasting impressions. Necessarily, nuzzling is minimal. Playing with the sibs mandates little romping. One learns early of the evils of nosiness.
“Ow! Pincushion! That was my eye!” “Oh, what a crybaby. Why d’ya think you’re born with two eyeballs, UNO, huh? Duh!!”
One who would actually ‘turn the other cheek’, is roundly regarded as ridiculous, and rightly so. What foolishness! ‘Do to others, as one would be done by,’ is the best, in the crèche, or so I imagine.
As the porcupine clears my headlights, it regards me resignedly; the expression becomes a word, unexpressed, belatedly: it says, “Patience.”
They must learn early, I suppose, a particularly porcupine philosophy, which patently pricks, fundamentally rooting its way deep into the psyche, like a tick, digging in, and there’s no getting out of it: the porcupine mantra, “Life is pain. And love? Forget about it.”
Wait a sec! Where is my silver lining, intended for me, as I head back to hearth and home, to my particular American Dream? That darned prickly porcupine–what did he say? What could it be?
“Slowly, slowly, wins the day?”
Nope. Try,
“It could be worse, you could be me.”
~ Tim Burchfield



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