(Disclaimer: This post is not for the serious minded. Most of it was written this summer.)
I realize most people have neighbors that are a little quirky. My neighbors are animals. Literally. “How nice” you say. “How lovely. How much fun.” Well, sort of.
It should have been a clue. The first week we lived in our house I heard a noise while sitting at the dining room table. I looked over to the patio door and saw a raccoon standing on his hind legs. His front legs and face were pressed up against the glass door looking in at me. I was speechless and just stared back at him with an open mouth. He eventually ambled off and we continue to see him from time to time.
There is the woodchuck that routinely climbs up our front steps to nibble off all the flowers and buds of the potted plants we have strategically placed there. Yes, I did say he eats off all the flowers. Picture pots filled with nothing but stems and leaves. It is beyond irritating. He has decided to live under our front porch. (Better access to the pots of flowers.) If you’ve ever seen a woodchuck they are big and a little frightening. One day while coming out my front door, there he was on the porch nibbling away. He slowly turned his head and looked at me as if to say. “Do you mind? I’m eating here!” He has also decided to make the flower bed in front of our porch his own private patio. He has trampled down the plants as much as he can with his fat little feet. What had been a nice arrangement is now a matted down mess.
There is the family of turkeys. Mom, Dad with 12 little ones. “How cute.” you say. “How charming to see them walk in a straight little line from one end of our property to the other.” The trouble with 12 little turkeys is that they turn into 12 big turkeys. They think they own the place. When we plant things they find the newly dug earth and decide to take a dust bath. Never mind that the plants are completely destroyed in the process. We know it is them because of all the feathers we find. Loads of them. Last Thanksgiving I had enough colorful feathers to make all of my grandchildren Indian headbands. Small consolation for all the lost plants.
I don’t mind the birds so much, but I think we have some that are intellectually challenged. I would say about once a week we have one fly against a window. Often they are stunned or worse. You’d think they would learn or at least pass the word. Do birds have community meetings?
Last winter during a storm we had a cardinal throw himself again and again at our patio door. He was determined to get in. It was like he was scolding me for being warm and keeping the door closed against him. I was afraid he was going to hurt himself. I eventually turned the porch light on, turned the indoor lights out and went to bed. When I checked a few minutes later he had gone to find his own home.
Then there is the woodpecker. I often hear him in the morning rat-a-tat tatting on our house. When I look out our 2nd story bathroom window I can see him perched on one of the house logs, pecking away. My efforts to shoo him away are useless. He stops and looks at me, but he knows I can’t reach him and so he continues. I suspect he is friends with the cardinal.
Deer are beautiful animals. I especially love seeing the fawns in the Spring. I do, however, resent them eating from all the bird feeders. My husband use to fill the feeders each night after work only to have the deer come at dusk to eat every last bit. We have counted up to 8 at a time.
I could go on. There is the beaver who never stays long, but travels through our yard on his way to somewhere else. The chipmunks and squirrels who are beyond annoying.
My favorite is the owl who often wakes me up in the early morning with his soft comforting “whoo, whoo, whoo.”
I sit here and think of all these animals that God has made and wonder how they are doing in the cold. We keep the birds fed, but the others have to fend for themselves. I suspect they are looking forward to Spring as much as I am. Even more I am looking forward to heaven where I “suspect” there will be a wide variety of animals to interact with and there will no longer be a language barrier. (Don’t take this as gospel, this is my imagination.)
Hope you are all surviving the winter.