Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Let nature take its course…

Trust the process – much easier said than done, whether it’s writing, finding (or keeping) employment, or life in general. But I was reminded again this week how the universe has a way of repeating the lesson until it takes root. Instruction came in a most unexpected form, as it usually does, and I’m still processing the outcome.

This weekend, our backyard menagerie expanded and the dogs are not happy. Chi and Barkley have pretty much adapted to the three bullfrogs, five turtles and dozen or so goldfish in the pond, and stopped chasing the garter snakes (for the most part). The squirrels are still fair game, but since there’s little chance Barkley will ever actually catch one, I’m not too worried. Chi just ignores them. Barkley chased off the rabbits and the skunks, and I think he’s finally realized the birds are unreachable, although I’m sure the bird dog in him will never give up trying.

But ever since our new visitors appeared Saturday evening, Barkley and Chi have been on alert, constantly vigilant, and making life…interesting. While we were enjoying a quiet moment around the fire pit with our daughter and her young man, an odd chittering noise started just past the edge of darkness, near the fence separating our yard from the neighbor’s. It almost sounded like a small child or two giggling. And it moved closer, and grew louder. Hubby found a flashlight to confirm his suspicions – raccoons. Four of them, juveniles, slipped through the wire fence into the yard, probably intent on the pond as the nearest water source. They ignored the fire, and us. The dogs did not ignore them, and we had to move inside to avoid a battle.

We spent the rest of the evening debating how best to handle the critters, and went to bed hoping Mama would corral them and return home before morning. No such luck. The little guys have taken up residence in the woodpile in our carport, and the dogs are livid. From just inside the gate at the edge of the backyard, Chi stands guard, barely able to see the stack, but she knows the kits are there. Barkley paces from the front door to Chi’s side, frustrated by his inability to reach the invaders. And it’s worse when the little guys go exploring.

A call to Animal Control was less than helpful. “Let nature take its course,” he said. If we want to catch them, they’ll loan us a live-catch trap, and come pick them up once the critters are contained, but that’s the best they can offer. Wonderful. Hubby and I considered scooping them into a bin and relocating the whole litter to Glen Helen, but that raises all new issues, not the least of which is getting close enough to snag them (by the scruff of the neck, we’re told).

After three days, the raccoons show no signs of moving on. They spend most of the day curled up together in the woodpile, barely visible. Nights, however, are problematic. No longer can we simply release Chi and Barkley into the backyard for a potty break without scouting the yard for our visitors. I have nightmares of one or both of the dogs tangling with four pairs of sharp claws and teeth, and while Barkley defeated the skunk that dared invade his realm, I’m not so sure he’d come of a raccoon encounter unscathed. Being nature lovers, we don’t want the raccoons harmed, either. It’s not their fault Mama vanished, leaving them to learn how to fend for themselves.

Funny, when we considered the perils of home ownership, wildlife never came up. Now we’re putting out 911 calls to family, friends, Facebook, and Twitter, asking for advice on dealing with the little guys. And while I’m thankful no one suggested violence, the answers we did receive are conflicting. Relocate them promptly. But they’re too young to survive in the wild on their own. Don’t touch them; Mama will return, maybe in a week. But what happens if she was hit by a car or something? Do we move them, feed them, ignore them…?

And then this morning, four days after the raccoons appeared, they are gone. Poof. We may never know what happened. Maybe Mama did come back; maybe they wandered off in search of food, or a home without barking dogs and nosy humans.

My four days of fretting were in vain, as is usually the case with worry. Do no harm, but don’t jump in to interfere when it’s probably not necessary. The universe, and nature, can take care of itself, if I just get out of the way.

Trust the process. Let go. Just be. Now to take that lesson to my writing, and to my life, before the universe decides I need further instruction.


  1. I love reading your blog because I feel like you give the gentlest reminders of how things should be handled. I appreciate how you find the truth in what you're writing- do not harm but don't jump in when necessary either. It seems so often that I fret and try to plan around stuff that just resolves itself while I'm fretting and planning. Good reminder.

  2. I read this first thing this morning and since, I've been learning that I must allow things move at their own pace. Apparently not my pace and I'm reminded as I often am by my follow authors, that I move at a faster pace than most of life. As for the perils of home ownership, I'm battling my own demons in the form of creepy crawlies, spiders and ants. Not sure I can just sit back and let nature decide here though, I think man will need to intervene in a most hostile way. Sorry, guess I need to find some Zen


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