In the morning, I see going up my front steps and all over my front porch muddy raccoon footprints, like patterns on the floor of a dance studio. I can look at the paw prints and pretty much tell what transpired. Not a very complicated story. Just a matter of coming up to wash paws in the clean water of the bird bath thus negating it being that clean any more. Then it is back down the steps and on to more serenading.
Last year, a raccoon named Ruckus and I had quite a dance as he moved into my attic after dismembering some siding on my house. He was truly a phantom in the night, not that operatic but more a percussionist. He put me through all manner of attempts to dissuade him from converting my attic into a high rise for him and any family he aspired to have. I finally, around midnight, after months of trying everything else, captured him in a friendly cage using a trail of marshmellows as bait. He turned the air blue with expletives. Getting a mad raccoon down a disappearing staircase in dark of night is not the easiest, but it was a happening thing.
I was actually very fond of Ruckus so I took him to a place ten miles away next to where the floating gambling casino puts out to sea knowing they throw food out and there is lots of water and crayfish for the critter. When I opened the cage door and he took off without looking back, I felt simultaneously happy and sad. Oh the bonds we do form.
Every so often, from shore, I look out and see the gambling boat go by way in the distance and I sometimes imagine that I see Ruckus in the wheel house with a captain's hat on. Probably just my imagination. I hope he is fat and happy.