Okay folks…..nature lover that I am…my serene and eclectic world was rattled tonight. While walking along District Heights Parkway with the world’s prettiest Rottweiler, Aminia, I heard a heavy rustling in the high brambles and brush alongside the creek. Aminia and I have seen the brush move and heard the rustling of the nocturnal critters as we walk this route daily. This time was different. It was a rapid rustling, movement of large branches ….I almost expected a human to reveal him or herself or a large dog to come lumbering out …not a fat masked nocturnal critter who stared us down like we just invaded it’s turf.
I had to pause because the last time I had an encounter with a raccoon, it was after a day of intense gardening. I wanted to just pot up few more items, so I ran inside to grab a drink and when I returned the night time spot lights came on and there clinging to a locust tree in my back forty was a huge raccoon. I did not know what to do…but the smarter side of my brain said to ease back inside and act like I saw nothing. The Other side of my brain said – How dare a raccoon mess up my evening of potting up a few plants to make some bodacious planters for my terrace, for me to enjoy when I sit outside and enjoy the season. The smart side won this argument and I receded back into the house, safely out of revenge range of this masked critter. This time we had no safety zone.
Aminia wanted to attack to protect me, I wanted to run all the way home….but instead I had to wrestle with my 120lb Aminia and walk backwards away from the peaceful night invader and head home. How fast could I walk backwards??? I was not sure but I did remember hearing that raccoons can run as fast as 15 miles per hour, can climb trees hand over fist like a human and carry a lot of diseases. Keeping all of this in mind and noticing that no matter how many cars passed this little masked intruder to my serene dog walking adventure, it just sat there watching, almost waiting for me to fall or trip or make the wrong move……..so I did not. Slow and steady I walked backwards up the hill and around the corner to the safety and sanctity of my little cottage in the court.
I must share with you that this was a wake up call. I have to be a lot more observant and be much more prepared for those unanticipated surprises that lurk in the night. As we develop new communities, enhance and create road ways to make our lives easier, let’s not forget that there are animals that were here before we were. We should figure out a way to respect nature as we enhance it for our own convenience. However in the meantime, make sure your trashcans are tightly lidded, do not leave pet food out and accessible and stay alert….there could be a masked bandit lurking about ready to challenge to you as you take your evening stroll.by