Tuesday, May 22 , 2018, 1:38 pm | Mostly Cloudy 65º


Captain’s Log: Food Chain Rattles All Around Us

Battles for survival reach from nature to the grocery store

A large flying bug buzzed right by my head, followed a split-second later by a wing beat so close it almost grazed my hat as a bird in hot pursuit chased that nutritious bug, gaining steadily on it through twists and turns that would make any aerial acrobat proud. The bug knew it was in trouble, and its erratic flight pattern showed it was frantically searching for an escape.

Capt. David Bacon
Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

Around cars and around storefront columns, the hot pursuit raged with both critters vying to survive. The bird needed to eat and feed its young. That bug just wanted to live a little longer. I stood still and watched the wild chase, wanting both critters to win but knowing it just couldn’t be.

With the bird just one foot behind, the bug saw a possibility and swerved to barrel into a dense bush with branches too close together for the bird to penetrate. Deep inside the dense bush, the bug found sanctuary. The bird was stopped cold by the close-knit brushy branches. It perched on an outer branch to peer inside, where its prey huddled safely. The bug won this battle of nature.

Both critters had risked everything by expending every bit of stored energy. Exhaustion could make either one easy prey for a fresher predator. In the food chain, you gotta be alert, you gotta be fast and you gotta be successful — or you’re lunch.

As this life/death struggle occurred, I was walking toward the door of my local grocery store, where all I had to do was pick up packaged food and pay for it. It really made me think. How aware are we of the ongoing — every day, all day long — battle for survival that goes on all around us?

While in the store I kept thinking, sure, we’ve got a system worked out whereby I don’t have to physically chase and kill my food. But the experience gave me a different way of looking at packaged food that day. I didn’t have to do the killing personally, but critters had to die to fill those packages. It amazed me how many lives ended to fill my shopping cart with the variety I took home.

I am a skilled and experienced hunter and fisher fully capable of securing my own meat. When I kill, I thank the critter for its life to nourish me and my family.

So that day in the store I found myself giving thanks over each and every package of store-bought food. I felt better for it.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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