The Latin poet Longo rescues us, for those of us who always need the language of dreams, the legend of the little shepherds who “they loved each other, but they did not know how to initiate love”. An already mature courtesan is in charge of showing the way to the adolescent Daphnisthe mistake arises with the resentful Chloebut the warm air of the Mediterranean washes away sorrows and leads the young couple on the path of bliss and supreme enjoyment…
So far the story. Linking it with the present moment, with Villa Elisa and, even more, with the station of wild birds that vegetates under the protection of hunters and in the oblivion of the authorities very close to that Villa, is our purpose, with the intention of elevating the most possible the action and the feeling of those who take advantage of, as hunters do, the riches of Nature. It is true, we plundered into that kingdom that we share, almost unaware of it, with other living beings that are sometimes part of the booty.
Without false sentimentality, it occurs to me to offer my readers, who are also many hunters, this kind of gift from Nature, of which I was a mere bearer, since the author wanted to eliminate himself out of guilt, his friends to avoid responsibilities, and so I I had to comply with the commitment, for no other reason than my enthusiasm and my gratitude.
It happened that in a hunt at the end of the season we came across a natural prairie in which the “coloradas” swarmed. It is very difficult to define the sensation that every hunter experiences before a prey of that value. Many call her the “queen of the prairie.” Hunting it is a rite of color, vertigo, sun and solitude. Whoever has experienced it, meditate on that explosion of red wings in the middle of the grass, that kind of longing for escape, for freedom that the bird’s flight means. The shot, the collection, the work of the dog without more or less disposable circumstances. The bottom line of the matter is that if the hunt is carried out with respect, “la colorada” is the vertex of the liturgy.
In my case I was able to subtract myself for a while. One of my companions did not understand it that way and then the shots were fired and the little pile of warm meat, still throbbing, in the hands of the author of the sacrifice. Far from me the possibility of a trial, since we have “sinned” many times. The fact of not having participated in this case of “sin” exempted me from commenting.
But a very special variant was presented to all of us: of the birds killed, two arrived alive at the meeting point, and apparently with all the will to continue like this. A mere review found a wing fracture in one of them; and an ammunition in the auditory zone with some not very serious optical lesion in the other, prompted us to keep them carefully in a box. Destination, the official kennel of Villa Elisa, EBAS.
I remember the sleepless night to find out if they were still alive; the solo trip the following morning, any given Monday, for any of the users of the route, a unique Monday, for me and my two prisoners. Finally, the corrals on the hill that runs to the end of Parque Pereira Iraola; and one of the technicians, Boedo, with whom I walk the wide corrals, endowed with grasslands identical to those that are the natural refuge of the red ones in a meadow.
A cursory review by the technician revealed three promising facts: both were very young specimens; both seemed almost recovered from the impact received; both had not yet covered their first heat or breeding period.
“You won’t know how to make love, I added ironically to Boedo.
—It will not be an obstacle; the male will get along with several old females and, after apprenticeship, we will return him well prepared to his fiancée.
Then, the jokes and the desire to share a work of gratitude with nature.
As we said goodbye, Boedo asked me for a name for the two new guests at the refuge:
—Daphnis and ChloeI answered, as if I were answering a question already heard. They were two little shepherds who did not know love either.
Boedo returned my smile, which never seemed less guilty to me.
Text by Rodolfo Perri