Tuesday June 1, 2004

Into My Garden

[ This was a writing prompt from Daily Writing Practice ]

Who stepped into my garden?

We live on the edge of a ridge, a string of lakes, a watershed, and a wildlife preserve. In the daytime, visitors to our garden include various sorts of birds and (after 15 years!) grey squirrels. In the summer, we often get quail (they are so cute).

At night we get raccoons, occasional skunks, and (much more rarely) an opossum.

One night, some 12 years ago or more, I walked out into the garden to turn off the water for the lawn. Anyway, I didn't turn on any lights in the yard. I walked around the corner and my foot contacted... something. I looked down... I saw a greyish blob.

I then had this conversation with myself.

It's... a possum.
    It cannot be a possum. It's the conch shell.
The conch shell is on the other side of the yard. It must be a possum.
    It cannot be a possum. We don't _have_ a possum in our yard!
It is too, I tell you. I'll prove it.

So I went back inside, got the flashlight, came back out and What ho, it _was_ a possum. Playing "I am just a furry rock", legs quivering slightly. I turned off the flashlight and went back inside the allow the furry rock to thaw and leave in peace.

Another night, some years later, history repeated itself with new characters. Again, I walked out into the garden to turn off the water. This time, I had a flashlight.

As I crossed the yard, I heard a rustling noise behind me. When I turned to look and saw a raccoon sitting on the fence. Then I swept the flashlight across the yard and caught a pair of reflective eyes on the other side of the yard. That one was a skunk.

This time, the conversation was between myself and the raccoon.

I'm going to go slowly back into the house now. You just stay there. Be careful of the other end of the yard; there's a skunk over there. You wouldn't want to bother the skunk. I'm not going to bother the skunk either. I'm going to walk carefully past and not bother anyone and go back into the house.

My experiences aren't nearly as interesting, however, as those of my netfriends Bari in Texas and Marian in Tennessee. Bari feeds her nighttime raccoon visitors marshmallows from her hand and Marian has flying squirrels that land in her hand and eat corn. Ohhhh; I'm envious!

And then there's Ginger's experience. Ginger is a fellow member of the Daily Writing Practice group. After I posted my response to the prompt (above) she wrote:

Now you've reminded me of my not so recent encounter with a opossum. I had a grey cat at the time who loved to sit on the patio on summer nights and watch the fireflies. We would not move just watch, she and I, for about 30 minutes and then go in to bed.

One night I came in to answer the phone and when I returned no cat in sight. I checked to see if she had gone to bed, but didn't see her there (I also didn't turn on a light so as not to disturb hubby). Back outside I called and in the gloom I noticed a pair of eyes way at the back of the yard.

Now Sam didn't usually go that far down in the yard, so I walked down towards the eyes talking to her and asking what she had found. I still couldn't see anything except the eyes. Finally after being calm and nice suggesting that it was time to go in, I stamped my foot and said, "Sam, inside now!" Where upon I headed up the yard for the door, turning from time to time to make sure she was following. The eyes were there following along at a slow amble. Just like a cat I thought, go slow when I am ready for bed.

Then I hit the glare of the outside light and passed on a few more steps to the door. Turning, in the glare of the light the following along was an opossum! I quickly went inside, turned out the lights and locked the door. On closer inspection of the bed, I found Sam all curled up next to hubby fast asleep. LOL opossum was following along, I'd stamped my foot hadn't I?

[The above reproduced with permission from Ginger Redman-McConnell]

Into My Garden ( in category Random Thoughts ) - posted at Tue, 01 Jun, 23:40 Pacific | «e»