the natural menagerie

Posted on March 15, 2011

Ofttimes when I am aimlessly ambling through the sanctity of the wood, as I am wont to do, I encounter the signs of beasts who dwell within the untrodden groves. Much less often am I fortuitous enough to strike upon these creatures themselves, and I have found myself supposing where the nocturnal beings find refuge from the midday sun. When I have, on occasion, spied such a milieu as would be conducive to the escape and regular attendance of such creatures, I have had my visions thwarted by mere vacuousness.

One can imagine how delighted I was, therefore, when upon a common afternoon stroll I spotted an animal bearing the singular markings indicative of Procyon lotor - the northern raccoon. He was foraging, whereupon my scent - and sight - caused him to retire into the confines of a hollowed tree. I pursued with aspirations of capturing him on film whilst he capered about, but my hopeful vigil saw only a visiting bird with curiosity of his own.

There would be no contentedness in leaving the bandit undisturbed without luring him from his shelter, so I endeavored to draw him forth with the presentation of berries and meat. This proved a futile effort, until I returned after evening had fallen and discovered the bounty put to use. I considered this to be a mildly successful gest, but it was not until the next day that I could grasp the implications bestowed by this chance meeting.

After twenty four hours had elapsed, I ventured back to the wood whence the beast had hid. My motive was the suspicion that the raccoon frequented the breach, or dwelt therein. It was with great joy that I again observed the matted gray fur tinged with white so faintly visible within the hollow, and I withdrew without harassing him. This development was a valuable one, for it marked the first time that I could, at my will, identify a specific location inhabited by an animal.

I have seen far grander sights; I am less than one year removed from witnessing a consortium of raccoons and an opossum meandering seemingly within my grasp, and I have sat for an hour in the company of wild deer. Still, I hold this newfound knowledge to a higher degree. It is as though God has opened more fully the verdant door of His natural creation, and in doing so has inspired me with its rare and delicate, fragile sights.

May I never look upon them lightly.

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