Friday, July 11, 2008

Rob and the Beavers—An Epic Battle?

Sometimes in life there are interesting parallels. Grendel invades the Viking hall. The Philistines invade Israel. The beavers invade the Krabbe compound.

Grendel was an ogre, a monster, who lived out in the fen with his mother. Little is known about him except that he frequently invaded Hart Hall at night, killing those within. Similarly, little is know about the Philistines who were already in Canaan by the time Isaac came through, and once Israel settled there, they were constantly at war. Like Grendel, the Philistines made raids on Israelite towns, killing the townspeople. The beavers are a much smaller threat than Grendel or the Philistines, but equally as feared and hated. They have moved into our creek and made night raids, killing our beloved willow tree.

Beowulf saved the Vikings from Grendel, David saved Israel from the Philistines, and Rob will save the Krabbe compound from the beavers. I suppose that this, then, makes Rob an epic hero, assuming that the beavers present sufficient challenge for there to be an epic battle. Already the battle is afoot. There is talk of bombs and guns, chemical warfare and deceptive strategy. We don’t know what the beavers are planning in response, but it is presumed that they will retreat.

Modern political strategy in this situation would dictate an embargo, which in this situation might mean putting up a large sign which says, “Don’t feed the beavers!” But instead Rob has chosen to leave the remains of the willow as a sort of peace offering, in the hope of persuading the beavers to leave the other trees alone. Does that mean he doesn’t believe in the popular policy, “Don’t negotiate with terrorists”? Really, though, how do you negotiate with a beaver? Or is this just an attempt to lull the beavers into a false sense of security, thereby enhancing the impact of a “shock and awe” attack on their dam?

Beowulf’s greater goal in taking on Grendel was to make a lasting name for himself, to gain immortality through fame. David sought to please God in his pursuits, earning himself the epithet that he was “a man after God’s own heart.” Does Rob have similarly lofty goals in pursuing the fight with the beavers? Is his battle symbolic of a greater struggle? Man seeks to have control over his world, to show his strength, to be in charge of his own destiny.

Will Rob win immortal fame or lasting praise, assuming he triumphs in this classic struggle of man over beast, of good versus evil? Only time will tell.

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