“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


The morning of three raccoons

Another gift brought by rain.

I'm crazy about this nod to fall,
long past now,
with a hello to early spring.

The neighborhood is all upside-down, mixed up, spring with fall, life with death, goings that are not yet final, comings that are not yet here, and just this morning - yes, truly, as I sat here with this computer in my lap, a raccoon scurried by the glass doors in broad daylight, skittered across the street, and was gone. And as I was pondering that, here he came, back again, in the opposite direction, faaasssssst by the doors, and so I followed - past Katie's staircase & behind the little house in the backyard, there were two more. They were scooting under the back fence & quickly skedaddled under the little house in the neighbor's backyard, only to be followed by my raccoon, running late, and can I tell you how I could not stop smiling - how very Alice in Wonderland that seemed? I fully expected that third raccoon to pull a pocketwatch from some hidden pocket, mutter to himself how late he was, and disappear down a rabbit hole. Oh, this must be the day, I thought, for Mary to say goodbye. What better day than one that begins with 3 daytime raccoons? Tricksters all. Mischievous little things. Oh, so very Mary.

Robert told a story the other night - and I am stealing his story & telling it before he does - of the time, long ago but not far away, when he was a fledgling photography instructor at the community college here in town, and while taking ID portraits for students & staff, was convinced by Mary (who taught English at the selfsame place) to put J.Y.'s photo on her badge, and her photo on J.Y.'s, and how that started a flood of other teachers who decided that their ID photos should include Mary. He told of the tongue-lashing he received from one of the people in charge, but nonetheless, the ID badges were made, and for the rest of the year Mary's name was next to J.Y.'s photo. Trickster, indeed. The raccoon is a perfect spirit guide for her - she loved shiny, gaudy things; she was an amateur actress in our local theater, always eager to don another personality, a mask; she was a night person, a party person; there was always a naughty little twinkle in her eye. Yes, the Raccoon.

I feel at peace.
Odd how those three raccoons brought
that gift this morning.

But I will take it.
robin will smile at the fact that i am a story-stealer today


  1. Your cats are so pretty. We had a well loved black and white one that looked a lot like Charlie. Our B&W boy was Stevie Ray.

  2. She is giving you a gift, I am glad that you can see that. I know how much you are hurting right now and know that I love you and am thinking about you.

  3. God made racoons
    with bandit eyes,
    a gaudy coat
    and dashing tail
    for the joy
    only time can buy.

  4. i was so glad to see/hear/know you were smiling :) yes this is a wonderful, happy post ;0


  5. I read these words and I think, not for the first time, how blessed you are. So many people live four feet from people whose names remain unknonw. So many people would never notice a magic raccoon hurrying by. So many people never learned to listen. So many people discount the elderly.

    But. NOT. you.

    Oh, yes. You are blessed. So is Katie. So was Mary.

  6. How wonderful it is that you notice these little messengers...racoons and owls and birdsong. They are such a comfort to you and to Mary.

    I am glad they are looking over you two.



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