The little raccoons that play

Last night I was watching these baby raccoons playing outside of my window. There were three of them. These babies appeared few weeks ago.

I moved here in June. I remember my first encounter/discovery of the raccoon kingdom outside when I was jolted awake by a loud, banging noise. My silly black cat, Pisces charged at the window, seemingly trying to fight some strange creature.

It was past midnight, I needed to get up at 7am in the morning to get ready for a day of working from home, It was the pandemic, I was tired, I was frustrated that I got woken up and wanted to curse, but was also terribly frightened. Is there a monster here? It usually takes a little while for me to get used to living in a new place. It had only been a few days and I didn’t feel secured yet. I had dreamt of an intruder and afraid that there might be one.

“What’s going on??” I asked my cat, and saw him sitting up super straight staring out at a spot outside of the window, as if some serious business was going on. Then I saw this humongous raccoon right outside. He saw me, and didn’t seem to feel intimidated at all. As I thought raccoon would usually get when seeing a human. And he charged at Pisces through the window, again. Making a banging noise while my cat was ready to fight him, too.

Behind him a raccoon of smaller size walked by, skittish and seemed to be afraid of me or my cat. She (I’ll assume that was the wife of this huge raccoon) kept her distance, her body language was equivalent to human being hunch over, trying to stay small and out of the way. A startle difference between these two. As her husband ( I will assume they are married in the raccoon kingdom) was bold and unapologetic, he tried to fight my cat (though they were separated through the glass window).

My cat wanted to fight, but also frightened. This is his new home and I am guessing he must feel like he needs to protect his territory. Or maybe I am projecting. But my cat is pretty sheltered, he was taken to the animal rescue when a few days old and adopted by me when he was 8 weeks. Though he was orphaned and on the street in the beginning of his life, he never really been through much in the sense of wild animals survival. I can tell that he was anxious, frightened.

These are large, picture window almost from floor to about a foot from the ceiling. Outside the window is a little deck area covered by a little green mat that make it look like a field of grass, at least from a distance. Sometimes, it feels like no separation from inside or outside. The optical illusion. I wonder if that’s how my cat felt at the beginning. Things seem so close, but yet could not be touched.

And the behavior of this huge raccoon fascinated me. After a few minutes, when both him and my cat had calmed down, this huge raccoon stood up and tried to see if he could get into my place. Luckily, I close and lock my window every evening. But I wondered, have they been hanging out in this space before I moved in? He just seemed so at ease and it was as if he does it every night when trying to push open the window.

That was me and my cat, defending our territory when we first moved to this land. Trying to establish our status, rooting our energy, screaming and swatting at the raccoons saying that THIS IS OUR HOME. I wonder if this is a mini version of what the settlers went through. They migrated to a new place, fight with the natives, dominated them and claimed that this is their home. And besides human inhabitants, there have been nature energies – plants, trees, insects, mammals, fishes, reptiles that also inhabited those lands before their arrival. Did they go through a time of battle and negotiation with nature energies too?

Anyhow, we ( me and my cat) and the raccoons, and all the outside creatures – birds, possums, deers, raccoons, and I think I might have saw a coyote outside few nights ago but not so sure. We are living together in peace now. My cat still watch them whenever they came by. I would feed the birds sunflower seeds once in a while. And the raccoons had disappeared for a little while, before these three babies showed up.

Perhaps needed to focus on feeding his new family, daddy raccoon now just go about his business when they are on their nocturnal family adventure. He went straight to wherever he was trying to go – probably the dumpster where all the goodies are? And his wife tagged along, as usual, skittish and keeping a distance from my window.

Yet their babies are different. These baby raccoons are terribly interested in my cat, and in a friendly way. It was obvious that they wanted to play. I stood next to Pisces last night, and watched them. I suddenly realized that my deck had become these raccoon babies’ nursery while their parents went and look for food. The three of them were just hanging out right outside, two of the babies were rolling around and playing gentle fight with each other. It kind of look like little kittens playing. The third one was the most curious about me and my cat. Super sweet too. This little baby were sitting right next to my window, where my cat was, and trying to snuggle with my cat. Rolling over and putting little paws on the window, it was a very friendly gesture.

Pisces really wanted to play with them too, it seems. It warms my heart to watch and feel these little creatures spreading love all over the deck. What a blessing it is to be able to watch these raccoon babies up close, and to feel their sweet presence right outside my home. How I wish that their innocence could last forever, and that they will never have to learn to defend themselves. I know pretty soon they will grow, and like their parents they will have to learn the ways of the world, but I cherish this little sweet moments, when my deck is their nursery, their safe space.

Goodbye Kitty

Death is a vulnerable process.

In the past few months I’ve witnessed the vulnerable process of dying, in my home. Bit by bit, drop by drop, I watched her life force drifting away. She wasn’t the nicest cat I’ve met. In fact, she had been pretty mean to other cats in the household. But just like humans, every cat has a story that no other beings completely understand. Cats developed their defensive mechanism, too. 

But no defensive mechanism is strong enough for death. For death just comes, as a powerful force, rendering us speechless as we bear the tender feeling of the impending loss. We say our goodbye, or pretend that it is not happening, as we bear witness of the gradual decay of this warm, furry, physical existence. 

Visper, I see you getting more and more confused each day.  You would fall asleep at the litter box and trying desperately to get back to your human’s bed. You tried to get to your water bowl even when your hind legs couldn’t hold up anymore. Your body was shrinking, your paws started to flatten. It was hard to watch. Even when you are technically not my kitty, my heart broke a little, watching you trying to get up and act normal each day. Until the day when you can’t anymore.

I’ve experienced a lot of losses in my life, but never witnessed, and felt one happening slowly, in a somewhat controlled manner. The day we said goodbye, was memorial day. The vet, a general, kind man came to our house for your passing. Masked, he gently guided your masked human in the process, giving space for him to say his final goodbye. You were given medicine, to relax, and finally go to sleep. It was a very gentle process. My young kitty, whom you found annoying for the most part, showed up and sat there quietly – witnessing your transition. Dear kitty, I hope your transition felt as magical as rainbow dissolving in the sky. Us, the humans, can’t really feel the whole scope of what this ending is like. For we are imprisoned by our ego, our attachments, and we shed our tears because of the loss of this tangible existence of love.

It has been a few days since you passed. I still feel your presence. But perhaps it is all just in my mind. For I, habitually, hold on to the past. I suddenly realized, that living in the present is easier said than none. More or less, we all carry our past with us. Our feelings of the present mingle with the memories of the past, constantly. Perhaps human beings are just constantly confused, or perhaps it is just me. 

Your life and death taught me something, something so profound that I am not sure if I totally get it, just yet. But I wonder, perhaps I should be easier on myself. Perhaps I don’t have to care too much about whether I am carrying the past with me, and whether I am letting the past interfere with my future. Perhaps I should just live, and be who I am, unapologetically. 

 

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