But eventually, the skirmishes will resume. Squirrels at first, reconnaissance only. They’ll retreat for want of better spoils since I don’t stock suet, corn or sunflower seed. The squirrels will report to their superiors, the raccoons, “There’s nothing there worth having,” and we’ll know a few days of peace. But the peace will not last, of course. The raccoons will come see for themselves. Raccoons don’t want thistle or millet or safflower either. They want revenge. The vandalism will escalate over several nights until they figure out how to get the feeders off the hooks and throw them off the deck, about a fifteen foot drop. The cheap plastic one is done for, the first time. The sturdier one will last for five or six drops. When I throw them away I’ll move the thistle feeder back to my garden and wait another three or four years before putting another feeder in my basket at Rural King.
Perhaps it’s one of the gifts of being fifty-three years old. I’ve completely lost any hope in alternate outcomes in certain ways of the world. I no longer expect raccoons not to be raccoons. Therefore, I no longer expect to keep the same birdfeeders hanging safely all summer long. They are mine to watch for a little while. Then they are the raccoons’ to destroy. I can like it or not like it. I cannot change it. I can only change me. My mind. My heart.
Am I a cynic? No. Do I wish the world were kinder? Yes. But I’m not inclined to judge it by raccoon behavior. They are getting by as raccoons do. Apparently they don’t like being teased any more than the rest of creation. Plus, I rather like this view of the world calibrated by long experience. Fewer surprises, less disappointment, and the sweetness of any given moment is a balance I could get used to.
~peace & prayers,