I’ve noticed a funny thing, living closer to the city the various times that I’ve done so. It seems that I see a lot more wildlife on the outskirts of Olympia than I did on our 17 acres in the country. I’m not sure why this is exactly. I imagine that it has something to do with habituation, and also with limited habitat so that you are more likely to see animals because there are fewer places to see them. Once last year, sitting in the backyard of the place where Preston was living outside of Olympia, I had to get fairly aggressive to convince a young buck that I was not interested in sharing my yogurt. I can’t imagine that it smelled all that appealing to him (it was key lime), so all I can figure is that he must have recognized the motions of eating, the way that dogs do, and decided that it was only polite for me to share. I had to actually stand up and wave my arms around and holler, and even then he only retreated to the edge of the yard, but that was far enough away for me to feel safe walking to the back door and eating my yogurt in peace from inside the house. One of Preston’s roommates in that house called the local deer population “Olympia’s rat problem”. While they are cuter and less creepy than rats, there are certainly plenty of them, and they aren’t particularly afraid of humans.
For the last few nights, we’ve been visited by some other friendly woodland creatures. Tonight, Preston had to actually close the sliding glass door in order to keep them from coming inside.
We had a pet raccoon when I was a kid. Her name was Katy the Coon, and I have had a soft spot for raccoons ever since. She was like a part of the family, and extraordinarily smart. My little sister was just learning how to color, and Katy would color along with her. Neither of them understood about staying within the lines, and Sarah gripped the crayons with her fist the same way Katy did. But Katy understood about staying on the page and applying color, the same as my sister did. I think Katy was an adult, but not a very old one, when a series of unfortunate events led to her demise at the hands of a local dog. I’ve heard that raccoons will get agressive when they get older, but Katy hadn’t yet. A friend maintains that raccoons are evil. “I’ve had one go for my knees!” she says. “He would totally have taken me out if he could have.” I point out that this doesn’t make them evil; it makes them badass.
The many local cats seem to have a truce of sorts with the raccoons, and Intrepid Explorer Magoo is learning about that. I’m not sure what sort of truces she had with the raccoons at the old place, but I know she was quite friendly with the skunks, sometimes spending the nights with them in their den. I hope she doesn’t presume upon such kindness from the local raccoons; I suspect they are less easygoing about such things, and more capable of disemboweling a sissy apartment cat should the whim catch them.