Night Crawler

Night Crawler

 

We had an unexpected visitor to our backyard yesterday afternoon – and although my zoological know-how is far from formidable,  I’m pretty certain that our exotically adorable visitor was a possum.   I spotted it ambling along the southern edge of our backyard, exactly parallel to the property line,  almost as though we had hired it to be the world’s slowest-moving, least effective sentry.   These are odd enough creatures when you see them at night – which I understand is when they are active – but to see one in the middle of a sunny afternoon is weirder than weird and brings to mind (at least to my jumpy mind) words like ‘rabid’ and ‘crazed.’  But this one seemed harmless enough and completely oblivious to the growling of our golden retriever Ellie.  (Bobbi was in the front yard at the time- speaking of oblivious – and knew nothing about our visitor until it was long gone.)    It’s almost as though the possum had examined the paperwork for our Invisible Fence and knew precisely where the invisible line was across which Ellie would not even think of crossing – and chose its path across our backyard accordingly.  And Ellie kept her cool,  maintaining a consistent growl while resisting the urge to go into Frantic Barking Mode, which might or might not have scared the thing off.   It wasn’t until I stepped out on to the patio to take a couple of photographs that the little thing slowly snap to attention and looked over my direction for maybe five or six seconds before reversing course and heading back to the ravine at what for it is probably breakneck speed.  In fact,  I was so started by how fast it was moving that it took me a couple of seconds to reposition the camera and get another photo which, I hoped, would have both possum and Ellie in the same frame.  And the image which then showed up on my little screen appeared to show the two of them perfectly framed.  Chalk one up for the Amateur Photographer!   But then when I downloaded the picture and looked more closely,  I realized that the large light-colored object I’d caught with such clarity was in fact the small boulder at the edge of our backyard-  and all you could see of the retreating possum was a gray-ish blur that could be just about anything.  Chalk one up for the world’s fastest-moving possum.   But at least I captured one clear shot of it . . .  and I’m happy we can add this to our list of Earth’s Creatures which occasionally visit us.  We have witnessed a deer in our backyard- several coyotes- a plethora of rabbits-  and one or two snakes.   It’s not exactly “Wild Kingdom”  – especially compared to the idyllic rural wonderland where Randi and Matt are building their new house, where they are likely to have deer in their backyard every morning and every evening – but it’s wild enough for us.