So. Here I am. Camping in my new-to-me rental cottage in the same neighborhood where my parents grew up. There's plenty to tell on that topic, but for now I'm trying to focus on the good stuff. Like the critters.
Focusing on wildlife in the middle of a big city takes some doin', but I'm happy to say that my senses are a little more fine-tuned now, thanks to my stint in The Sticks. There's really not as much to see here in Swamp City, in terms of nature, that is.
During my last few weeks out there in The Sticks, I grieved mindfully about the move, which included consciously noticing my surroundings. And as either luck or simply the rewards of mindfulness would have it, the country critters were out in full force. They were always there, and yes, you've heard me carry on via Facebook and Twitter about the deer and the birds and the armadillos and the snakes, etc., the whole time I lived out there. But I made sure to enjoy them -- to really feel the "oohs" and "ahhs" and go nuts with the big grins -- during my last weeks there.
Like with the porcupine.
When The Editor and I were hanging at Karrie Sue's, strategizing this cross-state move, he asked out of the blue one day, "Are there porcupines in this state?"
"I don't know," I said, sorta amused that I didn't. I like thinking that I know everything there is to know about my state. It's a frame of mind that goes with The Republic territory.
Guess what appeared two nights later, waddling around the corner of my little house as we stood on my porch swillin' beer after a day of lifting things into the giant rental truck?
It was smaller than I'd imagined and a little patchy in the quills. The porcupine heeded its nose, stopped, sat on its hind legs, and sized us up as we stood gaping and whispering. I worried aloud about Burb Cat, who was outside somewhere. Then the critter swayed a little like it was drunk.
"We need to go inside!" I whispered in a panic. Rabies has been found out that way lately in wild things. The Editor stayed put on the porch, smiling with fascination and Lone Star excitement. Then the thing wandered off toward the burned out property next door.
I went into Dr. Doolittle mode, fetched one of my hundreds of clean yogurt containers (and no, Editor Too, the plastic did not make the move to Swamp City), filled it with water, and tiptoed out to the acreage edge to leave it for the probably-diseased critter.
It was an exciting end to a few days of drudgery. Or so we thought.Mr. (or Ms.) Porcupine returned two more nights in a row, 9:30 sharp, while we caught our breath in the dry-sauna weather on my porch. And both of those nights were when our friend, who appeared to be feeling better and better, put on a real show for us.
He climbed the little tree by my driveway. With great ease. And silently.
We were so flabbergasted that our whispers became more like muffled squeals as we conjured up reasons our new friend may be tree-climbing. To eat eggs or baby birds, The Editor offered. To hide out and eat leaves for water, I pondered. At any rate, the little thing stayed up there until after we’d headed to bed, both nights.
It was an amazin’ sight to see.
Seriously doubt I'll be seeing that again, but for now, I'm marveling at whatever four-footed, winged, or scaled creature I happen upon here in Swamp City. Trying to, anyway.
(What we got is wild parrots in the pine tree.)