Monday, September 29, 2008

First Light

Early morning, first light.

When sounds of the nighttime mix with those of the approaching day.
Birdsong from the woods, a Barred Owl’s questioning call in the distance—and persistent chattering and fussing from the yard below.
Our bedroom door, open, to the upstairs porch and the sounds of the waking fields and woods.
Our narrow road, close below, between them.


For quite some time it continued, as we lay warm beneath blankets, a disturbing, unsettling call that we decided must be a raccoon. One of many in this rural area.


Becoming pests in greater numbers to be sure, though I smile when I see the small hand-prints so like mine, left after a night’s diddling in the mud at the edge of the pond.



I fussed about inside, preparing for a day’s work.
The sound outside my door, now quiet.
Gone with the darkness.


Pulling slowly onto the narrow road, a few feet from our drive, a small someone lay still on the pavement.
How Mama must have fussed over her here, confused and scared.

While we slept beneath warm blankets.
Listening to the sounds of first light.





Unmarred by her accident,
this baby raccoon was beautiful.
Soft and small.

Click to enlarge
participating in Camera Critters

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34 comments:

nina said...

More than the sadness of this baby's life, the impression left with me was of the mother's expression of grief. A shared reaction to loss. Emotion-- from one we may not think of as having emotions.

Bevson said...

I LOVED this post; its beauty and sadness. Well done!!!

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, my God, Mina! It looks like it's just laying there being cute...

Sadness at a loss must be mixed in with their instincts. All the energy they pour into raising their young, has to go somewhere when one of them dies?

Susan Gets Native said...

That would be "Nina", not "Mina"!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I'm a hydrologist with the National Park Service, down in Florida, near the Everglades, in the Big Cypress. I love your map of Olympic. Crazy question: but did you see Bigfoot?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Poor little girl. You know the Mom had to have a feeling of loss and sorrow even if for a fleeting moment.

nina said...

rvSobczak--Yep--that's the NPS Olympic map from their website. Disclaimer says public domain and free to copy--not so?
I'm happy to remove it.

nina said...

Bevson, Susan, Lisa--wasn't she the sweetest baby a mother could love? I imagined her following along at the road's edge--not getting to the side fast enough. Mama fussing and staying by her until daylight came. Then perhaps leaving--to our hollow tree.
I often see entire families hit and imagine it happens one after another, as they linger at the site, wondering what to do. And crying?

NCmountainwoman said...

It is so difficult to see animals mourn, but mourn they do. At least we humans have some understanding of the how and why. They know only of their loss.

Lovely and moving post.

possumlady said...

Oh, this broke my heart. They can surely be a nuisance sometimes but I can't help watching them. I have a youngster around my house I've named Trouble, since he/she has absolutely NO fear of me.

Getting ready for the storm of Hanna, I took my glass windchimes down and put them securely in a cat bed on the front porch. That evening while watching TV I heard my chimes clinking and it took me a while to remember "Hey! I took those down" I walked to the front door and sure enough, there was Trouble. She/he had pulled out the chimes and was sitting on the porch floor playing and clanging them together!

Marie said...

What a beautiful and sad post...

nina said...

Possumlady--As much a nuisance as they are, I find their ways endearing. They borrow tools from the shelf in the barn, and like the pretty red glass flowerets from my hummingbird feeder as much as I do, tending to decorate the path through the woods to their tree with red baubles.
The small hand-prints cover everything here--though rarely seen, we feel them in our midst.

I imagine you've uttered more than once, "Here comes Trouble?"

Floridacracker said...

Very thoughtful post.
I love the handprint/pawprint photo.

EcoRover said...

Sad to see the daily toll from our roads, barriers to life. We think of habitat fragmentation as the new shopping mall on elk winter range or the housing development in the mule deer hills, but to small creatures a road must be like the Chinese Wall.

Pam said...

People think our native wildlife is fascinating here in Australia, but I would love to see your little creatures, even if they are a nuisance sometimes.A sad but beautiful post.I was suprised to see that your map on the right shows Port Angeles which is in Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" which I'm reading at the moment.I thought Port Angeles and Forks were fictional names, maybe Forks is.

Pam said...

...just found it!

Wendy said...

I find it eerie to see a dead animal at the side of the road unmarred.
Still and whole, but no life left.
Very sad. Of course animals have emotions too. Why wouldn't they feel?

Reader Wil said...

Such a waste! I am always moved when I see some animal dead, let alone when I see a human who passed away. It must be a great grief for the mother raccoon.

Jennifer said...

Oh, the poor baby.

Mary said...

Nina,

Another story, so wonderfully told. The ending surprised me...

I think about animals and what kind of grief they feel.

Very sad. She was pretty.

Mary

Robin Easton said...

This moved me to tears. I've seen a mother or partner praire dog try to drag their dead from the road. It is the most heart wrenching thing one could ever see. No different that a human. After years living in the wild I know that some other species also grieve the loss of those close to them.

I am glad you posted this and wrote what you wrote about it. Your writing is as heartfelt and beautiful as the photos. You are truly one with the wild beings and natural world around you. I am glad of that. Isn't it such an amazing experience to live like that? I can't imagaine living any other way, although millions do.

nina said...

Yes, Pam, there really IS a Forks. Forks, Washington--the setting for, as you say, Stephenie Meyer's best selling series of teen vampire books, and where they filmed the soon-to-be-released movie. You should have seen this little city all dressed up for tourists!
Even the Chamber of Commerce had an old red pickup parked out front with the license plate "BELLA."
A really big deal for this logging community.

I work in a library--we can't keep her books on the shelf--even more sensational than Harry Potter!

The Tile Lady said...

Oh, I just wanted to cry! How sad! Your telling of such a small (in the universe) but enormous moment in life and death is truly beautiful!

Learn Japanese Review said...

rare people can blend sadness and beauty

Carletta said...

Sad, but very eloquent post.
The pictures of their paw prints are amazing - does look like little hands and that makes it harder to know one passed away.

Christy said...

Such beautiful rhetoric for a sad story. Great post.

ratmammy said...

such a sad story. well done.

Anna said...

This brought tears to my eyes. That poor mother.

I loved the little handprints.

Müge Tekil said...

This is a very touching story ...

i beati said...

quite poignant

CrazyCath said...

Oh this is so beautiful and so well written!
She / he is gorgeous.

lisaschaos said...

Beautiful bandit! Sad story. :(

Kelly said...

What a beautiful but sad story! Oh, my goodness, it breaks my heart!

Misty Dawn said...

What a sad story, but the way you write and tell the story is beautiful!