Sunday, November 29, 2015

removed from the list

Sometimes when I open my kitchen door late at night, all of the darkness of the wide, wild night seems to make a rush for the door, and me. It gives me such an endangered species sort of feeling that I hurry.
Hurry to pull the garbage can free from its cover and
hurry to lift the lid and stuff in the bag.
I always hope I am alone on my deck in the still darkness, my eyes and ears on red alert.

It's because I remember a time  when I found I wasn't alone.
When I turned at the sound of a stealthy step behind me and saw a dark shape suddenly appear out of the darkness.

I didn't scream.
I knew in a moment who it was.
He had come before.
Was starting to come regularly, as though we were on some sort of route.
Darn raccoon.

A raccoon has been riffling through the garbage can on our deck late at night.
We have been forced to build an enclosure that made Fort Knox look like a kiddies playground.
Houdini would have had trouble getting the lid off of our garbage can.

We've hoped the raccoon would ponder our new defense system.
Would scratch our address off of the list.
Would warn other raccoons......

And so, when a raccoon suddenly loomed out of the darkness, I wasn't so much surprised as I was terrified.
Which is strange because I'm not scared of raccoons at all by day.
Only by night it seems.

For the next few days, I was jumpy about going out onto the deck at night.
Was jittery about opening the kitchen door  after sun down
and nervous about stepping out into the cool evening darkness.
But as the days passed, I grew calm and complacent.
Now that is the perfect set up for a set up. Calm complacency.

Sure enough, one evening, I opened the back door, my thoughts happily engaged elsewhere when I was jolted into the moment by the startled face of a raccoon.
I screamed.
The raccoon probably did too, poor thing.
It jumped in a single leap from the deck up, up onto the railing and then with paws outstretched, launched itself into the darkness.
Such a desperate act.
Lke suicide.
I was shocked.

Our deck is on the second floor.
There is a gravel walk way below and raised wooden framed garden beds.
These are not the sorts of things one should jump on from a great height late at night in the dark.
Unless of course you are terrified for your life.

In the light of day, not a thing could be seen.
Not a hair,
not a freckle.
It was as though he had never been there.
But, we were instantly removed from the list.

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