We looked out to see deer in the garden yet again, but the big surprise came when we looked down to see a racoon right under the window. Conventional wisdom says that a racoon seen during the day is sick perhaps rabid, but where we live the critters feel right at home. This racoon was not happy but definitely not sick. We opened the window hoping to get a photo, but the racoon took off hopped up on the deck and then scooted along right next to the house. I headed to the kitchen door and got there in time to see the racoon walk the top of the curved stone wall. Finally I got a chance to take a picture. This racoon didn't like that so much.
Here I got the best side of the racoon both for him and for me. Racoons are cute and furry with a lovely striped tail, but they also snarl and hiss and have impressive teeth and nails. Wild racoons are best left in the wild. I know that from long experience.
It was about 60 years ago that I learned that lesson. My parents went to pick wild high bush blueberries. I really loved animals in those days. As luck would have it my Dad came upon a baby racoon in a bush where he was picking. He captured the beautiful little creature by throwing his jacket over it. I don't remember exactly how we got it home, but I do remember putting it in a makeshift cage in the basement. I gave it plenty of food, even a chocolate chip cookie, and some water. I went to bed happy but I will never forget that night. That racoon whined loudly. I went downstairs, turned on the light and sat with it and all was quiet. It seemed like the baby was asleep so I crept up the two flights of stairs to my bedroom and collapsed into bed. When the mournful cries of the racoon started again they were louder than ever. I remember making many trips to quiet that baby racoon before it woke my Father. It was still dark when he got up and returned the racoon to the blueberry patch. We both learned an important lesson about racoons that night. I'm smarter now. I'm smart enough to let this racoon find his own way home.