Don’t trifle with these creatures.

Cinghiale, which is a wild boar, can be found all over Italy. I’ve heard that, years ago, after their population was dwindling, their northern European cousins were imported. Then Italy found themselves overrun. The havoc they can wreak can be substantial. Think a totaled car due to a fearful wild pig charging your car. Think ravaged crops. These are ravenous animals.

Maybe your only encounter with cinghiale will be on the menu.

If you’re a meat-eater, they’re delicious, no question about it. Roasted, in a ragu, made into sausages and salami. Yum! I’m all in. I have a fascination with seeing them in the wild, however. I’ve encountered them countless times (especially at night) as I make my way up the winding mountain road leading up to my house in Umbria. Seeing a mamma with four of five piglets in tow is a common sight. But, my desire to encounter and observed them officially has been squelched due to some recent devastation they brought to my doorstep, literally.

A day’s work destroyed.

Here’s the story: I’ve recently completed a major outdoor renovation, turning a previously overgrown garden to an expansive stone terrace with a deluxe hot tub for six. The views from the complex (two houses), especially the terrace are breathtaking (see the feature story about the houses if you’re interested).

I’d spent the lion’s share of a very hot and humid day working on the landscaping at the back of the terrace. I’d put in landscaping borders on three levels and had planted twenty lavender plants. I was quite pleased with myself even though I went to bed aching from head to toe. Then, I got up late the following morning and walked down the front steps to the terrace to find total devastation. It looked as though someone had sneaked in with a backhoe in the middle of the night and ripped out and turned over everything I’d done. Even the wooden borders were buried. The lavender plants were either buried or tossed aside in frustration. I guess lavender isn’t a cinghiale delicacy.

I was destroyed.

How could the universe have delivered such a nasty blow to me? Then I remembered I could dust myself off, knowing that my disaster pales in comparison to other natural disasters. No time to be petulant.  No profit in shaking my fist at life for having dealt me this supreme inconvenience, delivered by hungry wild boar.

There was a lesson for me in all this.

You can begin again.

Life can throw a crappy hand at you at times. You can work furiously to achieve a goal, only to have it undone in a flash. It’s bound to happen unless you are a rare creature with a team of sworded guardian angels preventing any mishaps in your life.

As I stood, sighing deeply at the overturned earth, I told myself that this won’t be the last time I encounter such upheaval, literally or metaphorically. I picked up my shovel and set about my work of redoing everything I’d thought was done. Three sweaty hours later the work as completed. At least the wild pig hooves had turned the earth thoroughly and made it easier to work.

Will they come again? Will they have learned and remembered there was nothing to be found in their frantic search? Who knows. Hopefully, I’ll remember my lessons: steer WAY clear of them, and be ready to have my world turned upside down without falling to pieces.