Mourning has come…

Alex and Rabea were sitting in the backyard – the two of them in my lounge chair for one 😉 – cloud gazing, when they noticed the forked branches towering above had ‘grown’ hair… {insert quizzical look} …the hair was moving, as in breathing and stirring… {insert quizzical look again} …that’s a creature?!?… What the heck is that? “Mom!?” 

DSC_6123We hovered in the yard, checking out our new ‘visitor’ a good distance from the foot of the tree. (Lets face it, if said fur-ball suddenly decided to exit this tree, we needed to be in the I’ll-give-you-a-ten-second-start running position…)

Maneuvered solidly in the crux of the branches, was ‘Mr. Rocky Raccoon.’ His fur much longer than I thought or expected coon fur to be. Like tall grass in a field, it swayed with each of Mother Earth’s shifting breaths.

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And, when a puff blew by, an infamous ringed tail – our surefire confirmation – fluttered out and danced on the breeze.

He has spent many days, high above the rooftops in this sturdy loft… his very own four-poster daybed of sorts.

Out of my bedroom window I have a birds-eye view… this is how I’ve been starting my mornings, by looking for my new ‘friend.’

For a while, I thought he was my ‘Official Weather Predictor’… for everyday he was there, was a good one. Then he ruined that notion by getting rained on for an entire day – poor thing – I felt so bad for him. Worse, for days after he didn’t ‘visit.’ {Sad me…} Even worse… I then saw on the side of the road – two blocks from my house – that familiar copper colored coat – waiving from the ‘confines’ of the curb – after a car ‘introduced’ him to his final resting place…. {Sad, sad me…}

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That’ll be MR. Racoon to you (uh… sorry… he needs underwear…)

Oh, no………..

I mourned all day… Rocky came to my mind over and over. I really enjoyed having him in my morning routine, and my tree! It felt like I had reconnected with nature – something that seems so futile as life goes on… Now what am I going to do?

Charlee didn’t want me to talk about it. She didn’t want to think about it, or focus on it… it was too sad. I get that… so I suffered in silence….  I fought the urge to walk around the corner to offer one last pet… a prayer… a burial… something….. one last gesture of thanks for the moments Rocky didn’t even know he gave… But, you’ll be happy to know, I didn’t. The reality of germs, the possibility that ‘Rocky’ might only be hurt, and rise up at the very moment my hand extended, and bite my nature loving, tree-hugging butt… not to mention the notoriety and/or spectacle I would create. (Frank and the kids would surely draw the line…)

So three a.m. arrived, and big surprise, I am up… laying in bed… thinking about Rocky… and how my morning’s have turned to mourning. The start of writing this story rolled around in my head, as I rolled around tangled in my sheets… neither scenario was offering much comfort.

I hate that I can’t sleep, but I must admit I love the wee hours. If you catch it ‘just right’ there are no trains, planes, or automobiles… there are no barking dogs, or screaming kids. Thoughts can travel their path unhindered, uninterrupted, unabashed. Yes, there is a gift in everything.  It is moments like this that I make an intentional effort to really listen… listen to the silence. Embrace it. Feel it through and through… for in no time, time will be upon the day – as will daily life.

My story was clawing to get out. The go-back-to-sleep pep talk I gave myself wasn’t working… nor was the perfectly propped pillows… I kept thinking about my empty tree… (Yes, I am obsessive…)

{So?!?  Have some sympathy… I told you I was mourning!}

Just as I started to get out of the bed – to make my way to my computer – the silent night was broken.

A noise…. {What was that?!}

A loud screech? …… {A monkey??!}

{The conversation with my neighbors, Pat and Fran, flashed into my head! “Raccoons make a lot of noise and commotion, they sound like monkeys.” They were telling me about the pack of raccoons living in the woods near their previous home. I never knew they made any noise… much less sounding like monkeys!}

I jumped up from the confines of my pillows, groped for my glasses, and peered out the window. The side-door light was never turned off last night. {Argh, I am starting to sound like my penny pinching father, “Turn the #$%&!* lights off!” grumble, grumble… but I guess tonight it was a positive happenstance.} Just above the line of illumination, in the direction of the ‘monkeys,’ I could see shadows of a commotion! …and then a big fluffy ringed tail… there he was! Rocky!!

He’s not dead! (Yay… YAY… doing a little jiggy dance in my PJ’s… :D)

Though he soon might be….

Oh, No.… He sounded hurt… Was he caught?  What to do, what to do? This is going to be a horrible demise to witness… I – the ultimate captive audience – listened in horror, squinting against the darkness, and my window screen, to see. (Boy do I wish I had a spotlight!)

A faint silhouette clutched to the trunk of the tree – two stories high. He was not a happy camper… and he was letting it be known. It seemed, that ‘someone’ was already sleeping in his tree! Two raccoons?! Could that be? Fighting… arguing like pissed off monkeys… a scuffle erupted. {How they fought is a mystery… and the light only shined on the trunk portion, not the crux of the branches where the ‘hammock’ is…}

Next thing I saw was ‘Rocky,’ or maybe it was ‘the invader,’ dangerously belly skidding down the trunk – doing his best impression of a tree-hugger – nails clawing and scraping the bark with dear life urgency. When his grip finally caught, he held tight and cried out – loudly – his frustrations.

I wished I could see further up the tree… wondering what could be bigger than the mini-bear I now saw, but I could see nothing… and now Toots – who obviously heard the commotion – was on full alert-the-house mode.

I ran downstairs shushing her with as much authority as one could muster at 3 a.m.  She paid me no mind, this was too important… silly human… don’t you know I am your brave protector?!

{Yeah ‘right’… brave protector? I am starting to worry about my puppy and my new friend(s)… One lays in the street around the corner, one up in the tree, and another fighting mad – hanging on for dear life… Let us remember the ‘rules’ my dear raccoon(s); Stay up in the tree and we can be friends. But come down near my family, canine or otherwise, and all bets are off!}

Up and down the stairs I went – in my wee hour – shushing Toots… spying on Rocky… shushing Toots… spying on Rocky… so much for a good night sleep.

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Let’s just say my night was a bit Rocky. (lol)
But, at least I am back to looking forward to the morning.

Check out this cool video – a pet Raccoon chowing down grape after grape!  (<~Click here.)

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Night time salutations…

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