The Call Of The Wild
Most mornings when I come out to get to the car it is still dark and as I glance around the yard I can see pairs of glowing eyes looking back at me. Yesterday morning, however, it was like Siegfried and Roy were holding auditions out there. I got into the car and when I turned on the headlights – Ta-Da!
First on the bill was a large raccoon clinging to the side of the tree right in front of me. It had that usual raccoon look on its face – “What? What? You got a problem with me?” I think raccoons are the Joe Pesci of the animal world. We made eye contact and had an interspecies moment there.
After about ten seconds the raccoon took off into the yard. Two seconds behind him was one of the large neighborhood cats, twenty pounds of attitude and furballs, with murder in his eyes. Between you and me – in a real tussle between those two I’d put my money on the raccoon.
When I turned the car around my lights hit on a lonely possum, opossum, or whatever you want. It was taking its time walking down the driveway. After all, what does a possum, opossum, etc. have to hurry about? I think that their only natural enemy is the automobile but I looked harmless.
Watching all of this action with me was Zeus the neighbor’s dog that was outside answering the call of nature. Zeus is a big dog. My best guess is that Zeus is part Great Dane and part Buick. Fortunately he is a gentle soul and rarely barks. When he does he has a nice baritone voice with a bit of a vibrato. About the only thing that sets him off are sirens. When Zeus hears a fire engine or a police car wailing by he lifts his head and “sings the song of his people.” When Zeus howls everyone within five miles knows it.
Zeus watched the raccoon/cat drama and the moseying possum, etc. (see above) with interest, but since it wasn’t in his yard it was not his problem.
There is never a shortage of animal life in our yard. I have seen deer grazing there and a few years ago there was a Mountain Lion (See Puma, Cougar, Panther, Catamount) spotted in the neighborhood. This summer there was a very large Red-Tail Hawk perched on the garage roof. It sat there looking at our yard like it was a luncheon buffet. There was nothing moving in that yard. Even the squirrels were using sign language. Zeus was fascinated.
Sometimes, late at night, I can hear some of the critters (my guess is the raccoons) walking/running/chasing across the roof. There is a large tree right next to the house that gives them easy access.
(Note to self: Dynamite that tree.)
With all of these animals one would think that we lived out in the country. We don’t. We are on a residential street, two houses from U.S. Route 40 aka Wabash Avenue in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Where am I on the Food Chain?”)
It would not surprise me to walk out of the back door one morning and see a Wooly Mammoth munching away at the greenery. I think Zeus might look at it and say to himself, “Now we’re talking! A little ketchup and a side order of squirrel….”