Friday, November 19, 2010

The Oddest Couple

"The lion shall lie down with the lamb - but the lamb won't get much sleep." - Woody Allen

That's the memorable line that always conjures up a funny image in my mind of a poor sheep whose terrible Leo-induced insomnia is forcing it to keep at least one eye open all night long.

Imagine my surprise and delight when I recently found myself an eyewitness to an even stranger scene.

First, here's a view of what the birdfeeder outside my kitchen window looks like on a typical day:

Now here's what I saw when I flipped on my back light and looked out my kitchen window on the evening of Oct 14:

I know it's kinda hard to tell, but... that's a skunk on the left and a raccoon on the right, each snarfing up the spilled seeds on the ground without paying the least bit of attention to the other.

My feeder attracts both skunks and raccoons with some frequency every year from about August to November. The skunks usually come just after dusk in groups of two or three. They tend to have little patience with each other. Hissing is common. Savage clawing has been known to occur.

The raccoons don't come as often as they used to. In past years, it's tended to be a momma with a few cubs. I take my feeder into the shed before sunset during those weeks when they threaten to become a nuisance.

In all the years I've been living here and filling my feeder, I don't think I've ever attracted a raccoon as big as the one on the evening of Oct 14.

I know I've never seen any raccoon that close to the normally highly territorial skunks before.

And by "close" I don't mean merely side by side, like two puppies nursing from adjacent teats. I mean to say that I actually saw the skunk back his butt up into the very face and nose of the raccoon and then drape his long, white-striped tail over his dinner companion's back and the raccoon just kept on eating his seed as if he were the only animal on earth.

And then, as if to prove to me and my S.O. that it all really hadn't just been a mirage brought on by some wacky ear virus and/or camera gremlins with access to Photoshop, the two gave a repeat performance on the evening of Oct 22.

It was, as even a staid old Amish grandma might be moved to say, the goddamnedest thing I ever did see.

And what made it even more goddamnediest was that these were evenings when I'd just seen an endless stream of campaign attack ads roll by on my TV screen while watching the nightly news.

Who knew that we'd ever get to the day when asking our politicians to behave like skunks and raccoons at the same feeding trough would constitute a major raising of the bar?


  1. I'm waiting for a commentary about pOpe benedict's condom reversal and hoping the title might be "Condom Nation".

  2. Not a complete condom reversal, mind you. Condoms for male prostitutes - yes. For everyone else - no.