Navel Gazing

Images of Buddha

There is something about waking up to rain that puts the whole day in neutral. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice rain, nice and steady and it hung around all day and the next, but now I need for it to leave. Rain, rain go away, come again another day. I can actually see the grass growing. Getting longer and shaggier than a quarantined hair line, but it is too wet out to do anything about it today.

It looks like we will attempt a summer vacation. Plans are being made to go to the cabin, serially. There will be no big convocation of the clan this year. The boys are anxious to escape their corona hot spots and will go first. Anne and I will eventually follow. Spacing things out some. Everybody will be driving separately. Stay tuned for more. Apparently, Indiana is practicing some negative messaging and has erected a couple of billboards, one on I-69, north of Fort Wayne. It reads, “Now Entering Michigan—Really? You’re Sure About This?”

HBO launched its new service yesterday, HBO Max. In addition to its normal catalog, parent company Warner had delved deep into its catalog of movies and TV shows and now offers a host of classic gems. Perfect for a rainy day.

Urban Wildlife

Tower Grove Park Raccoon

We drove to Tower Grove Park, for our daily constitutional. Although, it is forecast to be as warm as yesterday was, a stiff breeze was there to sweep all the sweat away. It was quite pleasant. An urban park, Tower Grove is known for the wide variety of trees that it has, 500 different kinds. Beating the expected heat, we got there early enough that the morning’s shadows were still quite long.

As we walked its tree lined and now carless streets, Anne spied this critter in a stream bed that we were crossing over. As she looked at it, it froze and looked right back at her. This staring contested lasted long enough to get its picture.

Even before the pandemic began, coyotes have always been the alpha predators in town, after us of course. Ruling the night, after we humans have all retired to our homes. The raccoon is the next largest animal that lives among us in our urban environs. No match for a pack of coyotes in a standup fight, the wily raccoon has learned to take advantage of our ubiquitous sewer system that offers them safe refuge at every street corner, along with an alternative transportation network beneath our feet. A combination that allows them to coexist.

Years ago, when I was still working, I used to bicycle in Forest Park each morning before work, even in the dead of winter. One morning, while I was coasting downhill towards the park, I spied a family of about half-a-dozen raccoons sitting up on the curb. It was still full dark out, but I was running with lights, including one attached to my bike helmet. As I sped past them all, I turned my head and the attached light to look at them. They were all looking back at me, with the light casting retro-reflections in all of their eyes. The encounter was over in a second, but we were quite the sight for all of us to see.

I am reminded of a New Yorker cartoon from a little while back. In the cartoon a raccoon is seen standing on its hind two feet, at the top of the stairs of the brownstone where it presumably lives. A food delivery person has arrived and the raccoon instructs the deliveryman to, “Just leave the food in the trash can.”