Without really knowing where I saw this bullshit, I'm getting pretty tired of people making really REALLY verbose and long statements about the stoic/family-oriented/nature-abiding spirit of various eastern Asian countries. It's like they're all a bunch of undergrads, and they just got into Asian studies, but nobody told them that Japan and central China are like Massachusetts and Nevada, only MORE different. And now that Japan had a disaster, it is definitely time for them to get tl;dr on some blog comments that I read.

I must also confess to some rage at having to read someone (not a person I know on LJ or DW or anything) talking about how they try not to take any pills, except during their period, when the pain is unbearable. Are you fucking kidding me? That must be so wonderful, to be healthy enough to tell the world that pills are bad and you're great for not needing any. Except during your period, when you actually ARE human and DO require medicine that is actually NOT EVIL.

And now for the much more cheerful story of

Ruby and the Trout

We have a stream with fish in it on our property, and fishing equipment, so my parents like to go down there and fish, especially my father. He's down there now, and he took the dog, Ruby, with him like he usually does. He hardly ever catches anything, and when he does the fish are usually too small to keep (there are laws). When he catches a fish, it's kind of exciting.

One day my dad went down, expecting that he wouldn't catch any fish. Ruby came along and did her usual, which involves all the usual dog/forest activities, plus Ruby's own way of "hunkering" in about a foot of water to keep cool (she is possibly quite proud of this behavior). Surprisingly, dad caught a beautiful trout of a size that was just under the legal limit. He had to throw it back, but it had swallowed the hook and he was going to have to cut out the line. He hadn't brought anything to cut the line, because he hadn't expected to catch anything that would swallow the hook and still need to be returned to the river.

So he brought the trout up the hill, hanging off the hook, without water. I was in the house and I thought it was pretty scary. It made my heart skip a beat in a bad way to think about what the trout would have been feeling. And it was a wonderful animal, shiny and lucky.

Ruby had accompanied him the entire way, trying to eat the dangling fish and get herself caught. I don't think he was even holding the fish, and Ruby's not really a high jumper but that seems like another mistake.

Dad cut the fish free, but that was probably what killed it. He filled a watering can with water and the fish, who floated belly up and might have twitched a little, if at all. He took it back down the hill. I am told that he attempted to put the fish back in the stream, but it was very dead and there was no point to it.

Thinking that another animal might love to eat a small trout, my father deposited this fish on a rock. It was for the forest gods, or a possum, or maybe it would come back to life and go back to the stream. Then he started to leave.

Ruby, being someone who would count herself among the animals who would like to eat this fish, was confused, and possibly a little horrified. As Dad left, she looked back and forth between him as he beckoned to her, and the dead fish on the rock. Daddy was leaving the fish. Would he get mad if she had it? He noticed, coaxed her to come back with him, and then started up the hill with her following. After a bit he noticed that Ruby was not with him.

Ruby had indeed gone back for the fish. She came back to him with it in her mouth, and then walked up the hill with him. The fish was deposited in an area of the lawn that Ruby treats as her office---a safe place with lots of sun, soft grass, and a breeze, where she could take naps, keep watch, dissect interesting things, have an occasional visitor. Ruby assumed that her office was a fortress, though it had no walls except for some foot-high flowers, and it could keep a fish safe from foxes, birds, possums, coyotes---if she even knew such things existed. Then she forgot about it.

My father easily retrieved the fish, and without telling me how it had traveled up the hill a second time, cooked it in a frying pan. It was in such perfect condition that I never guessed what had happened. We divided it more or less along its spine and each ate half. It tasted like the place it came from, in a wonderful way---like the trees and the air in the forest, like the sediment in the stream and clean water. The meat was incredibly light and tender, hardly meat at all. My dog made this rare and special food even better by being innocent, trusting, skillful, and, um, hungry. But we can say she was loyal instead.
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