The Literary Drover No. 3383

Because I choose to live where I live I accept the “neighbors” – the wild things that sometimes go ‘bump’ in the night.

For example, a few nights ago, around two in the morning, a less-than satisfying sleep brought about by a glass of wine led to me getting up and plodding through the darkness to the bathroom. It also resulted in me hearing the chimes hanging from the overhang on the deck singing as they sometimes do. Realizing that I did not hear a breeze or a wind after I finished my business I made my way to the sliding deck doors and carefully pulled the curtain aside.

There he was: The biggest of the trash pandas, squatting on the deck railing, stroking the bars that comprise the chimes.

I watched him through the glass door and, as my eyes adjust to the night, realized the deck floor was spattered with big, squooshy-looking footprints because Beleveder the racoon had been washing food he had retrieved from my neighbor’s orchard in the birdbath located on the deck – intended for such feathered folk as chickadees and nuthatches and robins and blue jays and robins.  I also realized “The Big B” was not alone. As I watched him molest the chimes, seeming to enjoy the sounds they produced I looked down and found a pair of eyes looking up and at me – one of his offspring, not doubt. When we made eye contact the furry, four-legged junior waddled to the birdbath and proceeded to wash food he had with him, which involved all four feet in the birdbath. More big, squooshy-looking footprints across the deck as he exited the birdbath and scaled the deck railing. When he was done another made an appearance, and completed the apparently required cleansing of foodstuff before leaving track across the deck.

There were six trash pandas in total. When they were done and the musical accompaniment was concluded the birdbath was also almost drained. Given the hour I chose not to refill it, instead returning to my bed.

When the day did come I awoke refreshed and, recalling the events of the previous night, made my way to deck with the intention of refreshing the birdbath.

A dozen or so birds were waiting, giving me the stink eye because their morning routine had been delayed by my neglect to satisfy the wild kingdom.