Thursday, July 10, 2008

Raccoon's last tale

Because the heart beats under a covering
of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for
that reason, to be of no account?
Jean Paul Richter

Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life. John Muir

Blogging about the Oregon coast last week did the trick. Mike wakened me last Sunday morning asking if I'd like to take the dogs for a quick trip to the beach. Next question?

Traffic was bumper-to-bumper coming from Lincoln City back to the valley - those travelers from the three-day weekend thinking (erroneously) that they had a jump on the crowd heading homeward. Our trip from the valley to Lincoln City, on the other hand, was easy-breezy.

And breezy was the operative word for the day. There were 45 mph sustained winds at the beach, making the usual stroll on the sand more of a challenge than we or our two eight-year-old dogs had in mind on a summer day. Coupled with that was a troubling condition we noted in the waves coming onto the shoreline: they had a murky greenish cast to them and smelled strongly of rotting plant life. We decided to keep the dogs out of the water line where we usually walk and they love to run in the wet, packed sand. This forced us into the soft dunes of loose beach sand that slipped with our steps, making for an aerobic workout of sorts.

We grew tired. Mike scanned the hillside with its various little caves carved out by eons of wave activity, where huge pieces of driftwood become nice beach fire sites for some, and where we looked for a sheltered place to sit out of the wind for awhile. There was one such perfect spot that Mike pointed to and we headed over. Even the dogs were looking grateful for a chance to rest. And there on a rock slab in the hillside, just above where we had chosen to stop awhile, was this dead raccoon.

She had such a story to tell with her last movements, now hardened into place. Even in this sheltered spot an occasional burst of wind found the fur on her back and tousled it. The raccoon did not smell. Her dying ground hadn't attracted many flies or bugs. Abby and Bonbon showed an uncharacteristic lack of awareness that this corpse was nearby.

There was a dignity to the scene, and so we sat there only five feet beneath the slab where she lay. I took these photos so she could tell her story to you.


For The People said...

That is a great idea. Nature can teach us so much! Good Morning from Mississippi!

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

For a tiny moment, your story allowed me to empathize with the critter, but then I quickly thought, "Ewe, gross!!". haha

Sounded like a lovely time......I am in dire need of going somewhere!

francessa said...

These are impressive and touching photos. Are racoons rare in this
area? I've never seen one except in the zoo.

sharryb said...

Hi Lydia,
As I read the comments I was amazed by francess saying she had only seen racoons in a zoo. We must invite her to Oregon. We have trouble here in Ashland keeping the out of the house! Your beach walk sounded lovely, lively, and touched with the reminder to be present with our the wind, our dogs, and our loved ones.


raccoonlover1963 said...

Hello Lydia. Thank you for visiting my blog. You have a great post. Poor little raccoon! I have one that comes around every evening and eats cat food that I put out. She also enjoys the little treats I give her. Marshmallows! I may not see her out there, but the missing marshmallows tells me she made her appearance! Again, I enjoyed your post.

Lydia said...

For the People,
Thanks, and your blog certainly is proof that nature teaches us much.

You're so funny.....and tired, I guess - so get thee to a little road trip.

Francessa and Sharry,
Answering the two of you together because, Francessa, raccoons are certainly not rare here, and, as Sharry says, come to Oregon and we'll introduce you to some... or a bunch!

If you check out my next post you'll see one of the raccoons that I feed. They've never had a marshmallow, though!
I still think it was so ironic that I saw your comment on another blog the same day as the whole raccoon thing came on mine!

Arnold Layne said...

The Racoon actually died while it was eating? That's fascinating and yet, very disgusting. You have a wonderful blog.

Lydia said...

Wow! A new reader! I so appreciate your compliment about my blog. Do you think the raccoon died while eating? Actually, I hadn't seen it from that point of view, however....

francessa said...

Lydia, I'm becoming a raccoon-expert fast ;-).

sharryb, inviting sounds like a great idea ;-).Then I could invite you back and show you alle those marmots, chamois, storks, bustards, and herons we have over here.

Lydia said...

Along with the animals/birds you listed for Sharry, I just read the comment you left at my later post. Honestly, you are mentioning animals (all except the heron)that I've never seen. This is getting exciting!



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