Friday, February 01, 2008

Stranger In the Night

One would think that in the dead of winter here in the South, that one would not see a whole lot of wildlife.

Well, one would be wrong.

Last night, after some gnashing of half-brushed teeth and a LOT of reminders of how early we have to get up the next morning, my daughter (I thought) finally drifted off to sleep. Just as the house got quiet, I heard footsteps scurry down the stairs and then a little voice made an announcement.

"Mommy! There is a weird looking animal in the yard and it is FREAKING ME OUT! I think it may be a raccoon!!"

I assured her that it was going to be fine and that the animal was most likely a possum. Nevermind that she was supposed to be asleep, snug under the covers with her stuffed animals instead of staring out her window watching wild animals.

Sure enough, when we peered through the glass of the kitchen door, I made a positive ID- a grey and white, long-nosed, skinny-tailed, looks-like-a-big-rat possum.

Once she realized that the weird looking animal was totally harmless, she decided to sit at the window and watch him as he ate whoknowswhat in our yard.

And, here's the thing. I sat there with her. This is love- for my child, not possums.

We watched the big rat for several minutes as he foraged and crept in our yard, into our neighbor's yard and off into the night.

As his tip-toed into the shadows, I said to my daughter, "He looks like a cat."

"Like a weird looking cat."

"Yep, weird for a cat. But normal for a possum."

"I think he is beautiful," she said.

Then the violins began to play and the scene faded to grey. And white.

With a long, skinny tail.


Kelli said...

When the kids were in Kindy and 1st grade, we lived in a house that attracted raccoons. Like, ones the size of dogs. We would turn off all the lights and all lay on the dining room floor against the patio doors and watch them forage int he yard. sometimes, if we left food near the doors, they would come and sit right in front of the doors and clean/eat the food, with us all holding our breath not 6 inches away on the other side of the glass.

Good times, good times.

Linda said...

"This is love--for my child, not possums"--Quote of the Week --And what Kelli just wrote--that is a horrible, horrible nightmare for me.

Fresh Girl said...

Awww, I'd love to see a possum roaming my backyard. As it was, I did get to pet one named Ophelia at our local nature center. She was very sweet and softish, but bless her heart, she had the face of someone who isn't too bright. If your daughter wanted to see Ophelia's picture, I think you can find it on my blog sometime in late September. :)

Jeanne robinson said...

i can not belive you sat there and watched that ungly rat. I will have to tell you a story about a possum. I just can not handle those things!! Yes I am now a Girl Scout leader and i do not like Possums. Pray for me I know God created them and they can not help they way they look, poor things.
Have a blessed weekend, thanks for sharing your story You are braver than me that is why God has put us togather. Jeanne

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

And I bet she remembers that moment with her mama, even when she's grown with her own. :)

PJ said...

How wonderful!! WHen I was in school, the neighborhood O'Possum would nose up to the window (which went to the floow) by my computer and keep me company on my all-nighters!!! I have a feeling my granddaughters wouldn't be so calm!

(And it sure ain't New York!!)

Susanne said...

We never have wildlife in our backyard except if you count the time some kid running from the police jumped our fence and tried to hide.

Anonymous said...

I am having huge possum problems here at the moment with our native Australian possums because they keep eating the tomatoes off my tomato plants.

They eat them green so I haven't had one ripe one yet. It's driving me mad. I wish they would eat some of the zucchinis instead!


Merrie said...

What love! The innocence of childhood - so sorry we miss the beauty and see the ugly. You are blessed!