Monday, October 30, 2006

Wild Night Company

Living where I do now I can no longer claim that I'm not inspired by what I see. So far that hasn't translated into a lot of fiction productivity, but maybe the well is still filling. At least I'm soaking up details and atmosphere.

Lana and I took a long dark walk along our gravel road last night. The moon was a good thick crescent floating over the tall pines, their tops swaying in a breeze that we couldn't feel at ground level. It was cool, our breath smoking faintly. We passed a single dwelling, and then another. Both were dark, except for porch lights, and I wondered who, or what, might be coming home to them later. Then we passed a tiny cluster of three houses close together, with lights on inside but no signs of any activity through the windows as we passed. Pole lights stood on either side of the road at that place, casting a haze of purple light that was just strong enough to birth shadows in the surrounding woods. Somehow, the three houses together seemed lonelier than the single dwellings had, and I felt a little colder then and moved closer to Lana.

When we got back home, I went to check email while Lana sat out on the back deck, wearing a sweater against an increasing chill. She soon came to fetch me, however, to tell me that we had visitors. Just after we moved in we'd had an old dead tree cut down, but had left the stump about three feet high. We'd poured seed onto the stump for the birds, but our visitors weren't birds. Two racoons were gorging themselves there with much accomaniment of crunches and cracks. A flashlight didn't seem to bother them and we even found that our binoculars would give us a close up view. And so we played voyeurs at a feast of the Wild Night Company.

Lana thought she had seen another racoon so I shone the flashlight along the edge of the woods. Immediately, twin gemstones of green light winked back, and a few moments later a third beastie, a smaller one, came and climbed up the stump to join the dinner crew. Soon, a fourth member of the troup joined, and as I shone the light around the wooded perimeter of our yard I caught yet another flash of eye-shine and discovered a cat watching the Coon platoon. At first I thought the cat might have been a bobcat because it was very large and with sharply pointed ears, but I finally managed to get a look at it's tail and it had the long one that named it Cattus Domesticus. It was pretty clearly feral, though, because it would not let me get anywhere close to it.

Eventually, the Racoon tribe slipped one by one back into the woods. The cat followed and Lana and I returned to the warmth of the house, both of us wondering who, or what, might come to visit us next.

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