Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eye to Eye with a Raccoon


Last night, I went out to the compost to deliver some leftover greens and such. One of the composts is tied around a tree. I bend over, drop in the goodies over the encircled hardware wire, stand up, and am no more than two inches from what could have been construed to me in the darkness as a holdup! But no, this masked trickster, was a raccoon. He did not tear off up the tree, but rather he or she looks at me with an air of condescension and, how shall I put it (?), saunters up the tree at a most cocksure pace.

In native cultures, raccoon is the trickster who uses his wits to lead enemies astray, leaving them stranded and bewildered. The Cheyenne call him “macho-on” -- “one who makes magic,” and his or her bandit’s mask lends him an aura of mischievousness and wily intelligence. They are connoisseurs with food, preferring to dip food in sauces, spinning it around and around, and chewing to the point of savoring. 

Hats off to these survivors, who have lived practically unchanged on our continent for a million years or so. 

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