I don't do nature.
I do pretty nature. Like sunsets and sunrises and moons and stars and trees and flowers and beaches and oceans and mountains and stuff.
I LOVE WEATHER.
I DO NOT, however, do gross, icky nature.
I'm talking dirt, bugs, camping, fungi (I'm looking at you, mushrooms), and, with all due respect to the ones that could eat me (which I believe to be many; like, way, WAY more than other people assume), most animals.
That's right, I said it.
I'm NOT an animal girl.
I was never the little girl with the horse/puppy/kitten folder in her Trapper Keeper. My folders were blue. Or red. Or green. MAYBE with a rainbow here or there.
But no butterflies. No bunnies. No unicorns.
It's not like I've never TRIED to like animals. I have.
There was my friend Matt's cat, who was pretty okay. Except that Matt would regularly stop our phone conversations to announce that the cat was staring at his neck and was probably plotting to kill him.
And then there was the night the cat brought a mouse into the house and left it at our feet.
ALL SET WITH THE CATS, THANKS.
There was also my friend Sascha's dog, Bert. I kinda dug Bert. He was all big and sweet and tried really hard to be protective. We'd come in and she'd tell him, "Go check the house, Bert!" and Bert would proudly trot from the back door to the front to give us the all-clear.
Bert and I had a sort of understanding. It went like this:
Me: Bert, you're stinky. It's not your fault; it's just because you're a dog and sometimes dogs smell like dogs. No judgement. Please don't eat me.
Bert: We're cool. I will not lick you, or jump on you, or eat you. Now give me a french fry.
In fact, my relationship with Bert reached a really great place. I realized this one night when Sascha and I were leaving her house. Always the gentleman, Bert saw us to the door.
"Bye, Bert," Sascha called to him. "I love ya!"
"Bye, Bert," I said, and then I paused. I felt like I should say something more. But I didn't love Bert, and I couldn't bring myself to lie to him by saying that I did.
"I don't love you, Bert," I admitted. "But I like you a lot."
I like to think that Bert respected my honesty, my refusal to lead him on and let him think I cared for him more than I actually did. He played it cool; he trotted happily away to go do whatever it is dogs do on a Saturday night.
But Bert was the exception to the rule. And that was years ago.
Now I have my own home, free of pet hair. And pet smells. And pet bills.
I have kids. POTTY TRAINED KIDS.
Kids who, thankfully, are happy with fish.
Even if all of our fish are now dead. Flushed back to the ocean. Back to nature.
WHERE THEY BELONG.