Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Stands Between

A very self-sufficient couple lives across the road from my mother, where they garden and put up jars of preserves and raise laying hens. Guinea fowl, with their oddly shaped bodies and polka-dotted feathers, roam the grounds as a pack. After a Sunday lunch a few weeks back, we took our 11-year-old guest, a city girl, over there so she could see the animals. The chickens live in a nice pen that's partly open to the sky and partly sheltered, mostly surrounded by a tall wire fence. Except for one section under the sloped-roof shelter, which has a wall made of the red wood panel you see above. As I stood looking at it, I recognized that the dirt and mud on the wall had curious patterns and prints. Then something slightly sinister emerged from the bucolic scene as I realized that they were the the marks of predators, egg thieves - raccoons standing on their hind legs and pressing their muddy paws against the wall, sniffing the air and looking for weakness. Oh little biddies, sharing an ancient and common fear, hoping the walls will hold against the threat.


  1. I recognized those prints immediately. Varmints. Evil varmints and their pointy little get-into-everything paws. I used to have a pond. That pond had nice little water lilies and fish until the masked bandits shredded it all and left little pieces of fish and plants all over the garden. Turns out the motor that circulates the water through the filter also makes an interesting sound, so they pulled that out of the water and tried to take it apart. I wish they were good to eat. I do have a recipe somewhere.

  2. i love it! its the sinister red wall picture!

    it reminds me of cave paintings.

  3. Christine, They did the same to my goldfish pond, leaving only piles of glittery scales. Maybe opposable thumbs are the seat of evil.

    Yep, Wolfy, that's the one I was talking about. I much prefer to look at your red picture with the silhouettes.

  4. My god, such a lovely and sensitive post. Thanks Robert.