As I walked out of our garage for the paper this morning, I nearly collided with a skunk (not the one pictured but one just like it). It was emerging from a hedge that grows along the front of our house. Its fur was fluffed out for protection against the bitter morning. It was as surprised to see me as I was to see it.
We stopped. From a distance of three feet, we each made a quick assessment. The skunk didn’t seem agitated so I continued the way I was headed, walking slowly toward the paper. The animal was gone when I retraced my steps a minute or two later. The garage door was up, the lights were on, and it was warmer in there. Could the skunk have gone inside?Seeing and smelling no sign of a visitor, I closed the garage door and made my way back into the kitchen. Just another encounter with a citizen of Goose Lake. Another memory.
When I went out for the paper, I smelled skunk in the air, which reminded me of another poem from GOOSE LAKE. Here’s another page from my one and only Amazon book, 2011. The illustration is by SLADJANA VASIC.
The lake behind our house entertains me. In, around, and above the water a cast of swimmers, flyers, hoppers, chirpers, croakers, honkers, quackers, and hissers comes and goes, lives or dies, eats or is eaten, each a valuable member of the lake’s community.
If only you could be here to share my binoculars when I look out my kitchen window or lounge beside the water at dusk. There are so many sights I would love to show you! Since you cannot join me in person, I’ll do the next best thing. I’ll bring Goose Lake to you.
Sometimes skunks cross our yard
when it’s too dark to see black fur.
Their white bands jiggling up and down
seem to glow like skeleton bones
out to trick or treat.This summer we saw
a mother of seven
doing her best to keep her kids
from wrestling in the street.I wonder how many
passed their babyhood lessons,
advanced to mischievous youngsters
who may, as I sit here sniffing the air,
be target practicing
at a horrified
(c) 2011 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved
As the nation reels from tragedy on tragedy caused by the storms, Goose Lake maintains a cold, silent vigil. We join others in mourning the loss of lives, the hardships, disrupted schedules. Our hearts are with you as we all wish for a warming trend that will help return us all toward normal.
It’s cold and food is getting scarce. Many birds are moving restlessly around the neighborhood, feeding in groups. There are suddenly robins in abundance. Juncos too. I don’t know if any of the birds are headed south but some might become part of larger flocks that fly as far as Mexico to find more agreeable weather for the winter. They’re fun to watch but these cold days I do most of my watching through the windows.I wrote a poem about the birds this time of year for THE PURCHASE OF SMALL SECRETS, published in the 1990s’.
to the lawns
like black leaves
is the leader?
is in charge?
was the signal?
missed the vote
same as always
(c) 1998 David L Harrison, all rights reserved