Date: 7/14/17 3:11 pm
From: Herschel Raney <herschel.raney...>
Subject: The week, more rain
Rainstorm suddenly this afternoon. Red-eyed Vireos seem to be the voice
of the aftermath, the deluge.

Riding early down off the mountain, I enter Blue Grosbeak territory,
Painted Buntings, Field Sparrows. There is a Mockingbird near my
mailbox, where I change shoes and start my ride, that favors the
tow-heeee note. Making me think I have towhees over there every time.
Towhees are a rare pleasure on my land. I wait the sounds out though.
And it always trails off into wrens and scissor-tails.

The raccoon mother I have been watching for several weeks, the one with
visible teats, who comes to the corn I spread on the ground out front,
she arrived with her children this week. She had triplets, though I
expected more from the look of the mother. They all learned the taste of
corn: how to pick it up in your dexterous fingers and chew it on the
back teeth. The most remarkable moment, watching the triplets, the
extremely fuzzy raccoonlets out front though, was when I saw one of the
youngsters look up and follow a hummingbird in flight at my feeder above
them. Surely, this was this newly minted mammal’s first sight of such a
thing. A flying thing. It may not have even sorted out birds in the
world. Let alone the humming type. Oh, to know what the raccoon brain
thought at that moment.

This morning the mother raccoon was out front, she has a bad left back
leg. From a fight I presume: a dog, a fox, another raccoon. Who knows?
The world comes at you fast out there. And I saw her and a cottontail
and a gray squirrel out the window and thought ‘oh there is no corn for
anyone’. I grabbed the feed bag and went out the door just as the
triplets were romping over towards mom from the woods out front into the
yard. At the sight of me, they turned and panicked back across the road
and into the trees. One grabbing the big oak in the yard and shuttling
up it, stopping still like some raccoon shaped lump. Mom just went over
towards her resting bench and came right back to dine on corn kernels. I
watched and watched until I had to leave for work on my bike, and the
triplets remained in panic mode for all that time—never coming down.

I am ashamed of how frightening I actually am.

Herschel Raney

Conway AR

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