Saturday, June 12, 2010

The final chapter.

Sure, it could have ended like this. I’m sure some of you thought it would. But those who’ve been patiently following my raccoon saga will be grateful to know this week it came to an end. Project Exodus (which consisted of loud music, bright lights and ammonia soaked rags) was a smashing success. On the second night, while watching TV in the living room, I thought I saw something scurry across the porch. Maybe an hour later, I heard a noise, flicked on the patio light and caught mom climbing down from the roof with a baby in her teeth. They both looked at me. I looked at them. We understood one another. It was time. I flicked off the light and let her get back to the arduous task of transporting and corralling four distressed cubs.

Warning: If you thought I was a nutcase up to this point, it’s about to get worse. You may want to scroll to the bottom paragraph.

So, after eight long weeks of cohabitation what was my reaction to all of this? After seeing the raccoon with her baby, I walked back to the sofa and burst into tears. You should have seen the look on my kid’s face. “What’s wrong?” he said. “It’s all okay. It worked. She’s leaving. WTF?” Maybe he didn’t actually say “WTF” but he might as well have. And who could blame him? I’ve since tried to figure out what was going on there and here’s what I’ve come up with. (And sorry, PMS was ruled out…)

A) Gargantuan relief. That she had finally gone, that this hadn’t ended in some kind of tragedy, that she was doing precisely what I’d been told she would do, taking her little ones off to someplace safe. Things had gone according to plan. When does that ever happen?

B) Gratitude. That these cubs had such a great mother, that things had worked out, that my house hadn’t been destroyed as many warned it would be, and that I’d been able to share this experience, which was a rare and amazing encounter with nature. I had done something from the heart that ran contrary to common sense. (Certainly not the first time, nor will it be the last) And it hadn’t backfired.

C) Ok, maybe I was a little sad that they were vacating after all this time. I’d grown accustomed to their coos each time I opened my dresser drawer for a clean pair of socks. And just maybe I was projecting my own kid’s leaving for college onto this whole experience. (Ya think?)

There’s a final act to all this. That night, one of the babies was left behind. All night long, it roamed around the house and cried for its mother. I was afraid it might attract a fox or coyotes. That morning at 5:15, the dog started going crazy. The baby’s cries got louder. I ran to the bedroom window in time to see the mother carting the last of her brood off into the tall grass across the street. My guess was that she had three babies to keep safe that night, and didn’t dare leave them to go back for the fourth. Not until daylight.

And that’s the last I’ve heard of them. (Thank goodness. I know, I know.)

PS. That morning I went out to buy screen and hardware cloth and sealed up the vent.

2 comments:

Jessica said...

I am so glad the plan worked, and that everyone "evacuated" in a timely fashion. And I can TOTALLY understand why you burst into tears. I would have as well. It was probably for all the reasons you listed (I am leaning towards a big dose of "you're going to miss them").

And, that is the most fantastic photo, ever.

Nallemamma said...

HI found you here too,, I have a blog here too altho it is in Swedish,,, but i can start writing in english!!!http://mammabear-nallemamma.blogspot.com/2010/06/goood-morrra.html

Just have to tell you AGAIN how much I ENJOY YOUR BOOK!!! can't wait to get the other one started!!!
HUGS!!! Annika