It’s days later, and I’m still thinking about the raccoon. We didn’t even know it was a raccoon at first. It was Laurie who figured it all out: the raccoon saw her dog and scared-to-deathedly dove into a hole in the tree. High, high up in the tree. At least twenty feet. So all Laurie and I could see when we looked up was its furry, rotund buttocks and its back legs sticking straight out, like Superman. I kept thinking of Winnie the Pooh, how he jammed himself into that hole and was so chubby he had to diet for days to get himself out of there.
I don’t think this raccoon is going to meet a similar fate.
First of all, there was nary a Kanga nor a Roo in sight to help heave or ho. Secondly, even if there were, they would need a fire truck ladder to get anywhere near him. I was hoping Laurie would write about the raccoon so I wouldn’t have to, but so far, she has not.
Laurie writes an excellent blog called My Big Walk. One Woman, One Year, One Thousand Miles. Basically, it’s a chronicle of her daily walking adventures and somehow I was invited to join her on one of them.
She took me to a county park, accompanied only by her dog and a granola bar. She has a three-mile-a-day walking goal, which basically means we walk for an hour. I don’t often walk in the woods and I now realize why. There is too damn much to pay attention to. Sticks, rocks, uneven terrain. The rampant thorn bushes shredded my knit gloves. The creek I stepped into muddied my new sneakers and left them smelling like poo. I prefer concrete and asphalt. They’re so much more civilized.
Both of us were happy to ignore the fact that the trails didn’t take us very far. They’d end abruptly and we’d backtrack to a new path. “Two markings on a tree mean TURN,” Laurie explained, as she’d hang a random left. She was completely confident navigating the woods. “I was a Brownie,” she said, as if this explained anything. I was a Brownie, too, but all I remember from that experience was learning the Mexican Hat Dance.
This was my first time meeting Laurie, so I wanted to be a good sport about the whole thing. She’s got a great sense of humor, is easy to talk to, and generous with advice and ideas about writing and walking and life, all of which helped to mitigate how envious I am about her blog. She loves to walk, loves to play tennis, loves to write. It was almost like being with a more disciplined, more accomplished, more woods-savvy version of me.
Neither of us found it easy to leave the raccoon. “Do you think we’re watching him expire?” she said at one point, and then, “I’m a little afraid he’s going to fall on me.” Those were the exact two thoughts that I was thinking at the time. Along with “God, I hope I don’t feel compelled to write about this.”
UPDATE: She has written about it. And has pictures, as well. Here.