The Hunt For Red In October (Green in June)
Home is the hunter. Home from the hill. It’s stymied my stalking endeavour.
To track down this prey will take all of my skill. It’s a beast so elusive and clever.
It’s said to inhabit the hills and the glens all along the Bruce Trails’ rugged measure.
There clefts in the limestone can offer it dens where in safe solitude, it takes leisure.
When I was a nipper the hunting was good. They were plentiful, old timers say.
Every time they went out, shoot their limit they could, any time of the year, any day.
The creature I speak of I’m sure you’ve discerned, as we’re four stanzas into this saga;
So wily and smart our respect is well earned. It’s of course the Canadian Nauga.
Chameleon like it can alter its hue to any tint found in the spectrum,
Or mottle itself when it’s hiding from view to the tortoise shell shades of a plectrum.
When I was a boy every home in the burbs had a rumpus room down in the basement
Where mischief and mayhem ‘midst shouts and reverbs was the norm, as was decor defacement.
We’d wrestle and tussle with siblings and friends ‘midst many an oof and an ouch.
The victory goes to the child that sends all the rest of them flying off the couch.
What hide for upholstery could stand such abuse without being torn all asunder?
Some animal made by a mad Dr. Seuss? Some Stygian chimeric blunder?
The answer to that is the creature I seek. It’s the stately magnificent Nauga,
And what are its haunts in this game hide and seek? Why, the forests of Nottawasaga!
Now being a neophyte hunter as such I sought the advice of a master.
For hunting or fishing no one knows as much. If nature’s a church he’s its pastor.
“So Jerry,” says I, “how best might I find this rarest of quarry I’m seeking?”
Says he, “Climb a tree and then fashion a blind, so you’re hidden, with portholes for peeking.
Make sure that you’re up at least fifty feet high, or the naugas’ huge nostrils will smell you.
And don’t breathe a whisper, not even a sigh, or you’ll never know what has befell you.”
“And Jerry,” I asked, “is it true what they say, that its got one great tusk like a narwhal?”
“Oh yes,“ he replied, “and it goes all the way right from here where we sit to the far wall.
And if he should spot you up there in your perch your family may be one fewer,
For he’ll bash at your tree trunk and give you a lurch and then raise up his tusk like a skewer.
Now normally naugas are herbivore beasts. Their mainstay is grain as a diet,
But once they taste flesh then it’s carnivore feasts. Oh they’re dangerous, none can deny it.
If tracking a nauga through woods by its spoor I’ll give you a tip and you use it.
Put one shoe on backwards and thereby ensure that if it sees your tracks you’ll confuse it.”
I said to him, “Jerr, are they legal to hunt? You know, with that tusk so fantastic?”
Said Jerr, “If it’s male or it’s old or a runt, and that tusk isn’t ivory. It’s plastic.”
I queried, “So Jerr, can you teach me the call of a nauga that’s looking for loving?”
Said he, “It’s akin to a cow’s caterwaul when the calf that she’s nursing starts shoving.
The bull naugas call is a simpler sound. First hiss like a tire deflator,
Then a diaphragm OOF like some guy just unwound with a kick down below your equator.”
I’m SOL still in this quest for my prey, this magical mythical nauga,
But I’ll have his hide on my sofa someday, or I’ll try till the day I’ve gone gaga.
This Lord of the Loungers, this Davenport Don whose hide makes a chaise for the lazy.
His spellbinding call just keeps egging me on. He’s driving me Sofa King crazy.
P.S. When I was a wee boy my mama bemoaned that my fantasy world was too fertile.
Once I’m in my naugahide lounger enthroned, then my next prey’s the Pleather Back Turtle