I consider myself to be deeply in tune with nature. You know, the outdoors type nature; trees, birds, sky, etc. But there are some days and nights when I choose not to see nature through the prison’s version of a window.
I’ve come to the conclusion these slits within the concrete walls can have a psychological effect on a Mann in tune with nature.
I mean, the ‘window’ is so small; it makes the visual experience of nature an extreme task-filled with limitations. So, on those days and nights, I turn away from the visual sensation that nature has to offer. I tend to lean on my mind’s eye, and relive the moments that my human nature was influenced by the nature I kept inside a box.
Asthma was a part of my nature, in the early years of my existence. The dander of traditional pets, such as cats, dogs, hamsters and gerbils were forbidden to a lil’ Mann with asthma. I wanted a pet that I could form a bond with, so fish were out of the question. Na mean?
Somehow my older brother, ‘D’ and I convinced my Moms to allow me to have a boa constrictor. I was the only cat in the hood with a snake draped around my neck. Kids my age were in awe of my connection to “Larry Boa” (snake’s name). Adults would walk to the other side of the street whenever the 9 year old wrapped in boa coils, took to the sidewalk. LOL. I guess I don’t have to tell you that I was considered as a weird kid. SMH.
I decided to enter “Larry Boa” into my school’s science fair. I came in 3rd place, although I really expected to win. I mean, some girls with a flowerbed, and some cat named Roberto (8th grader), beat me out. By the way, Roberto made a volcano that spewed lava. I can’t front; it was tight, but in no way did it eclipse the feeding of “Larry Boa.” SMH.
The entire science fair came to a halt when I dropped a white rat into the snake’s tank. All eyes were on “Larry Boa,” as he snatched, squeezed and swallowed the unsuspecting rat. Even the eyes of the catholic nuns assigned as judges. Hence, my 3rd place blue ribbon. For some odd reason, the nuns believed that I was going to feed Larry corn. HIA (hands in air).
The natural order of nature’s food chain is exactly what it’s supposed to be, natural. But exhibiting this type of nature in a catholic school science fair might not be such a good idea. Feel me? I’ll never forget “Larry Boa.” He was a pet like no other.
Possessing his nature made me an oddity, but it also made me the first in my bloodline to engage with nature in such an unorthodox fashion. Today, owning a snake is almost commonplace, but I now understand what it’s like to be the nature locked inside the box. Totally unnatural. Ya heard?
Copyright © 2014 by Leroy Elwood Mann