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The night air is redolent of it, them.

Ok, so we’re not in Manhattan anymore.

Sitting here, checking my email before going to bed, the full moon rolling past my window, I became aware of a distinctly suburban, even rural, scent: skunk. It had been mentioned by my neighbor that we had skunks nearby. He was going through a litany of resident wildlife, varieties of insects, snakes and furry creatures. I believed him, but really paid it no mind.

Tonight though, I was transported back to the home were I grew up. We were by no means out in the sticks, but back then, before those cookie-cutter, pre-fab communities started mowing down the corn, there were plenty of fields and forested areas nearby. Our yard was regularly visited by skunks, racoons and pheasants. How cool it was to look out the kitchen window and see a pheasant walking through the yard. Alas, no more. Too much development. Too many ugly houses displacing the fields and forests and the creatures that live therein.

I guess up here, in The Bronx, these creatures have had plenty of time to acclimate to their competition and usurpers. Boldly they go, roaming about by night, mindless or rather, not minding, the nearness of humanity. In fact, as evidenced tonight, thriving on it.

There are some stray cats in the neighborhood. People leave piles of cat food in the street, by the curb, not in the middle, not as some cruel ploy to get the kitties flattened on our lovely dead-end street. Now truthfully, these cats probably would do much better eating the wild game that I’m sure abounds up here; mice, rats, what have you. But humans, in their often misguided desire to be kind, persist in their foolishness. The cats certainly don’t mind.

Nor do, it appears, the racoons.

Tonight, smelling that long forgotten perfume of startled skunk, I decided, perhaps foolishly, to take a brief walk outside and feel out the nabe. It is so quiet up here. It was quiet, relatively speaking for Manhattan, in our old Inwood nabe, but nothing like this. Up here, it’s crickets and night birds and wind. Frighteningly similar in atmosphere to where I grew up.

Having had my fill of the night air, I headed back to the apartment. And there they were.

Two enormous racoons, happily chowing down on the kitties kibble. They were, to say the least, unfazed by my presence. We looked at each other and then, having acknowledged each other, they returned to their dinner and I to my home.

If one is to judge the coming winter by nature’s signs, that these racoons have put on so much body fat by late July should indicate that we’re in for a tough one. More likely though, it bodes nothing; they’re porkers ’cause the food supply is easily come by; an unwitting donation by humans doing “good” deeds.

I think I’m gonna like it here.


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5 Responses to “Skunk”

  1. Haven’t seen any coyotes yet? and I’m not talking about the two legged kind.

  2. Nah, little lady. Ain’t seen n’ cyotes, yet. Betcha I’ll be keepin’ an eye out fer them critters, though. (And there ends my ol’ West writin’.)

  3. It sounds really great… and peacefull. And the text forced me to read the dictionary many times (I like that). 🙂

  4. Glad to be of service, Zim! 🙂 One of these days I’d love to start learning Spanish, it would be useful in NYC and also, I’d finally be able to read your blog.

  5. Well, if you need some help with spanish just tell me! And don’t worry about my blog, … it doesn’t have interesting stuff, is only a recopilation of silly things and thoughts 😛

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