Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Danger, Sparrow, Danger!

I've been getting some recorded telemarketing calls lately. They start out, "Do not be alarmed!" (They go on to offer some credit card insurance.)

This is so devious. How better to get you to listen to the message than to imply there is danger!

I don't know about you, but I don't have nearly enough danger in my daily life. My adrenalin level remains pretty constant. The most hazardous thing I ever do is back the car out of my tiny garage--and I have the dents to prove it.

The only wild animals I encounter are the opossums that I feed on my patio. There are also voles, squirrels and a few raccoons that come around, as well, but the 'possums are the stars. This is because they are newcomers.

Possums are common to the South, like armadillos. Because of Global Warming, however, they have been working their way north over time. And now, I am privileged to have my very own tribe.

Their arrival each evening is an eagerly anticipated event. The three cats and I sit at the patio door and watch them eat the jelly or peanut butter sandwiches, meat scraps, fruit and whatever. The possums ignore us even though we're only a foot away.

I never know which ones will show up, but they always come separately. The first one was a big light-colored one with pretty pink ears, that I promptly named Petunia. Next came Tank (a solidly-built little fella), then Elvis (a young one with small black ears). Last night, a new one appeared with a torn ear and 2-tone tail, so he became Rocky. The gender assignments are arbitrary, of course, and naming them is pure self-indulgence.

Now that the snows have come, I'm hoping to track them to where they've holed up for the winter. The poor things are not well-adapted to Minnesota with their naked tails and sparse coats. I worry about them--and so I feed them.

After all, they face danger every day.

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