Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Nights

The other night I was sitting right where I am sitting right now and turned, in my chairto see a raccoon less than three feet away, looking at me through the glass door. We made eye contact, then he turned and ambled off into the darkness. Ray had gone, about an hour before, out across the yard to the studio where we have been sleeping for the past few weeks during the remodeling of our bedroom. I would soon be heading out as soon as I brushed my teeth, washed my face and gathered my stuff, and now I knew that there was quite a large raccoon out there, probably between me and the studio. 

I stepped out, locking the door to the house behind me and stood waiting for the motion sensor light to acknowledge me and a few minutes longer to allow all critters to retreat to the undergrowth.  In those quiet moments I breathed in the scents of jasmine and fir and lilies and listened to frogs and crickets and the rustle of leaves high in the trees and forgot, for the moment, about the raccoon. It's a short walk down the path, over the bridge and into the studio. Ray leaves the porch light on for me. Still, I feel alert to danger, or at least, unpleasant surprises. Anything could happen in the time it takes to make my way from porch to porch. 

The usually so familiar path feels unfamiliar and a little menacing in the dark. My own shadow looms. Still, the night sky, moon, stars and passing cars up on the road as I approach the studio are reassuring and once inside all is well. 

Ray told me the last night we spent in the studio he encountered a possum coming out from under the studio porch who, upon seeing Ray, headed back under the porch. Ray flushed him from under the porch with the garden hose and chased him off. But he, and the raccoon, and who knows who else are out there. And while I have suspected as much, now I know. It has been an illuminating few weeks traversing the nighttime yard. Beautiful, peaceful, fragrant and still—and alive out there. 

Killer slug waiting in the dark....

Good night house. I made it.


  1. We have a 'possum that comes to visit our front porch most nights. We have a couple of outdoor cats that we feed so the 'possum comes for food and water. Apparently they like cat food. One night he/she made their way to the back yard scrap pile. I went out to bring the dogs in the house because it was going to get cold and they found the possum on the fence. Man, that thing was not happy with dogs barking and jumping at it. Lots of hissing and some snapping on the 'possums part. I did get the dogs in the house but one of the dogs ended up hurting the padding on his foot, so I took him to the vet to make sure his foot would be ok. It took a couple of hours before the 'possum felt safe enough to get down from the scrap pile and go somewhere else. Be careful out there. :)

  2. Love this so much. Well written, as always.

  3. I like to admire those critters from afar ... very afar. :-)

  4. The path from my studio into the house is much shorter than yours, but still very dark when I go in at night. Last week when I opened the door onto the dark sidewalk, a giant toad, evidently attracted by the light inside the studio, hopped right past me inside and I spent ten minutes trying to rescue him and put him back outside.... Good luck with your coons and possums!

  5. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Good story. It could have been worse though, as we have skunks and bears for frequent visitors to our yard. I'm not sure which one scares me more! Julie