Day 181: Liberate

Tonight I was in the middle of writing a rather self-reflective blog entry when suddenly, I was called to action: something big was rustling about in the trashcan outside.

My wife brought me around to the side of the house to investigate. And there we found the culprit, poking his nose just over the rim of the trashcan: a baby possum.

There’s nothing “cute” about a possum, least not in my book. But I will make an exception for this little guy. He couldn’t have been much more than a foot long from nose to tale, and he still had a fluffy juvenile coat.

I think my wife and I shared the same first (and bad) instinct: Ooh, let’s pick him up! Don’t worry, we didn’t. I have to say, though: he did seem pretty docile and not at all intimidated by two big, scary humans staring at him and shining lights in his eyes. For a wild animal, he seemed rather well adapted to city life.

I found a stick and gently scooped under his belly, lifting him just enough to allow him to crawl out of the trashcan and scurry away.

I have no idea what this little encounter with “urban wildlife” has to do with living simply and deliberately. I will leave it to you to work out if it is symbol of or allegory for some higher law.

No, unlike Thoreau and his woodchuck, I was not “strongly tempted to seize and devour him raw“; I do regret, though, that in all of the excitement, I didn’t think to snap a picture, even though I was already pointing my phone at him as a flashlight!





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4 Responses to Day 181: Liberate

  1. revdarkwater says:

    Love this … laughing out loud at the picture of cuddling a possum! Did Thoreau ever feel an urge to tame, I wonder?

    • Mark says:

      But it was cute, honest!

      An interesting point regarding Thoreau. The Bean-Field chapter in Walden has a lot of taming in it, that’s for sure. I remember reading a piece several years back about Thoreau’s pursuit of the wild–and how by the time he reached Katahdin, he had found a wilderness that was not only untamable–but ultimately “inhuman” in its scale and scope.

      • revdarkwater says:

        I dimly recall hearing about some research that suggested mammals have some hard-wiring that predisposes us see baby animals with affection … or maybe I dreamed it. But yes … I have a series of pictures of a baby groundhog whose parents are systematically undermining a community garden I help maintain. I cooed all over it nevertheless!

        I remember the sense of happy domesticity in the bean field … also, didn’t he decide to forego it his second summer so he’d have more time for the woods?

      • Mark says:

        Yes, I’ve heard the same thing about the evolutionary advantage of being a cute baby. I think it must work for reptiles too–every seen a baby gator?

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