Over the years, I’ve cultivated a strong belief that there are lessons to be gleaned from things that happen to us. So when a family of raccoons moved into my walls and, upon the urging of wildlife experts, I decided to let them stick around until the babies are old enough to move on, I had choices. I could view it as a nuisance, which it is. My attic vent will have to be replaced. I’m sure they’re trashing my insulation. The mother is noisy and the nest is located in my bedroom, which I anticipate will become more of a problem as the babies grow.
My other choice, to embrace the whole thing as an opportunity for a rare personal encounter with nature. I’ve been to a lot of zoos, and seen many animal babies but of course the experience has always been controlled. In this case, not only is the situation completely out of my hands, but I can’t actually see anything. At the moment, the encounter is strictly auditory. I hear the mother come and go, and move around the attic. I hear the babies cooing and rustling in their nest. As much as I’d like to actually see what they look like, I’m ok with just hearing them. (And hopefully never smelling them.)
Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far:
- To rely on my ears to create a picture in my mind’s eye.
- The power of motherhood. This mama chewed through metal to find a safe place for her brood. And she returns to her nest every evening around 6 PM, bound by her inner clock.
- Like most normal people, my initial reaction was to want them out. But after considering the options, none of which would have turned out well for this family, I was able to shift my perspective. We really do have choices in the way we look at things.
- I’ve come to realize that the compassion people extend to fellow humans doesn’t automatically extend to wildlife. While I’ve gotten a lot of support from like-minded people, I also had a dear friend with big heart tell me I should find someone to come shoot them. I’m guessing most of that is fear-based but the lack of empathy still confounds me.
- I can actually sleep in a room with purring raccoon babies. The sounds they make are almost soothing. (Included this video so you can picture them and hear for yourself.)
- Finally. Never trust a wily wildlife expert. On the phone, I was told they should be leaving in a few weeks. I’ve since done some online research and learned they don’t leave the nest until week 8. So that takes me well into May…..