The Weekly Recap and Sunday Nature Talk

For those coming in late, Cherry has a working relationship with the Sunny Soleil Society to help upgrade their gardens. While Cherry seems to be putting in more than the usual effort to do well and stay on good terms with Violet Cheshire, I’m afraid that her efforts seem to be in vain. The bee episode still looms over the situation. This week Violet introduced Cherry to Caroline, another board member, while Cherry was busy on a pond garden exhibit. For some reason, Cherry was embarrassed by the presence of tiny toads scampering out of the pond and around the two Society ladies. But worse was to come.

Turns out that Caroline’s husband has a new pest control business (which seems a bit below the social standards of the Society) and the Board has decided to award the contract to the fledgling company to eradicate the bees. Naturally, Cherry is very upset, for obvious reasons, but Violet takes pleasure in seeing Cherry in a powerless position to do much about it. Now, it does seem odd that a group that has invested time and money in gardens would be so ignorant of the value of bees, but that’s the story. I’m thinking that Violet’s decision to kill the bees is based on her erroneous identification of the bees as the invasive killer bees. If this is true, it needs to be clarified in the strip. But, we may have to wait a few weeks to learn more. Rivera normally only gives Cherry’s storyline one week at a time to Mark’s two. But after all, the comic strip is called Mark Trail, not The Trails.

Today’s strip reads like one of those old government-sponsored nature films they used to show in grade school. Well, I think we used to see such films, though maybe they were films on hygiene. Okay, so it was a long time ago!

Anyway, getting into the content, while I appreciate Rivera’s ongoing aim to help us learn the scale or height of these animals, I find the canine comparison of this particular breed perplexing, since how many people even know what a Shiba inu is, much less be familiar with its height!? I sure didn’t, so I looked it up. They sound like a real pain in the ass to raise, and are expensive to purchase. Probably expensive to maintain, as well. I think a spaniel or a retriever would have made the size comparison more familiar to readers. Or maybe a roadrunner?

So, exactly what can we do to help keep wild animals and ourselves safe from each other’s less-than-noble desires to kill each other? I think focusing more on Mark’s closing comment would have made a better, more informative Sunday strip. So, who is really surprised if a minimum-wage animal control employee shoots somebody’s collie because he thought it was a wolf? We’d rather learn how to protect our pets from those people! It’s not our job to train them, anyway. And what do we do when we are installing a walkway in the backyard and a black bear or fox suddenly shows up? Do we heave pavers at them?

The title panel—though interesting conceptually—fails me in the sense that the coyote and dog are not really posed as the letter A. We realize they are meant to be that, but only within the context of knowing the strip’s name. Then again, the canines don’t seem to fit any of the other letters, either. It must have been a tough problem. Still, Rivera gets good marks, overall, for her concept of thematic Sunday titles.