Raccoons and Key Limes

“No beginning is ever assured. No end is predictable. Only the terrified cloak their fragile minds and spirits in a comfortable layer of certainty. Convictions waver. Absolutes dissolve into vagueness as fury subsides, as passion drowns in repetition, as knowledge is gained, as bigger things begin to dwarf what we once thought of as monolithic beliefs.” ~ Gabino Iglesias, Coyote Songs

“Truth is a matter of the imagination. The soundest fact may fail or prevail in the style of its telling: like that singular organic jewel of our seas, which grows brighter as one woman wears it and, worn by another, dulls and goes to dust. Facts are no more solid, coherent, round, and real than pearls are.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

“Her heart was a secret garden and the walls were very high.” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride

Raccoon – singular, capital ‘R’ – has become my newest fascination. I can’t call it the raccoon. As of two days ago I had not seen a raccoon in 25 years. Then one showed up, ambling casually up the hill, stopping to vanish into the ruins of the old adobe well-housing, then reappearing to complete his climb. Of course the magpies saw him and raised hell. That’s a factual account, but it does not explain what I was feeling upon spying the animal. That’s why I leave “the” out of the equation – if I even have an equation to begin with. Raccoons were nearly ubiquitous in my previous home in the Florida Keys. There are no large predators down there, save for the bipedal kind, so the raccoons are relatively safe; and they thrive. Geez, was that cynical or what. Boy howdy I’m trying to give an imaginal description and it just ain’t coming out right. That, of course, is because imaginal reality is nearly impossible to put into words. I well remember the day I was digging a hole with pick and shovel, under the oppressively brilliant August heat; six feet across and about six foot deep; a hole in which to plant a Key Lime tree. We were working out back of one of the fancier restaurants in town, and I ended up getting heat stroke, tipped off by the icy breeze I suddenly felt, there within the humid grip of tropical August. But before the heat and humidity felled me I got to see a marvelous sight: workers from inside the restaurant came out with scraps of food, and they were met by a platoon of raccoons, who came out of the hardwood hammock, upon a soft rustle of little feet. Simply charming. Now, going forward . . . I’m going to have to let myself be open to exactly what Raccoon might be telling me through his appearance, reappearance, whatever. Sure, I have googled it to see what the critter means in a larger sense. The attributes listed on the New Age site left me more with a sense of mystery than anything else – and that’s good. One thing that did ring true was that raccoons are good in the darkness. I’m pretty good at it myself. But it’s that scene behind the fancy restaurant that beckons. Me on the verge of being slapped around by the heat, by the Sun; digging that hole only because I was getting paid for it. Even though I went home early the rest of the crew left the hole as it was and went ahead and planted that tree, which soon flourished. Now, have you ever seen a dozen raccoons getting pre-gourmet handouts? It’s a precious sight to behold. No, I have not (yet) learned what there is to learn about all this raccoon stuff. Yet it is the questions that arise that are most important. It’s not just mammals watching mammals. Yeh, I actually feel pretty comfortable with questions rather than answers; and that reminds me of a woman I know. I’ll be guilty of a non sequitur if I elaborate, so let’s just say that I enjoy the questions she brings up for me. It all comes down to “maybe” – and I am pretty good at that.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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