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Possumhaw: Bunnies, deer, ducks - now skunks

 

Shannon Bardwell

 

Coming in from feeding the bunnies, I found Sam doing his morning pushups. He held the pose as he watched me lie on the floor and look up at him. 

 

"I have some news. There are skunks under the house." 

 

If ever you thought you couldn't hold a pushup any longer than you thought you could ... you can. Sam froze. His face went from a smile to consternation.  

 

"How did they get in?"  

 

"I don't know. I opened the access door and I got the trap out of the garage, but I don't know what to bait it with. I was hoping they'd just leave." 

 

Our thoughts ran in different directions the way men and women's thoughts often do. I thought of a foul smell seeping under the porch, into the house, or on the bunnies or the cat. Sam said, "You know it was skunks that tore all the ductwork out from under the church." 

 

Sam lowered to his knees; the skunk news ended his exercise routine. We walked the perimeter of the house but saw no visible entrance. There was nothing to do but continue our day. Sam would be working near the bunny pens. He was building a "bunny pavilion" and adding stepping stones. I hoped the skunks would not be frightened and release their aroma near the bunnies. I know Sam was still thinking about the ductwork under the house. 

 

That evening I walked to the lake to feed the ducks and noticed how beautiful the evening was. It was still daylight, with a half-moon overhead. To the east of the lake were 16 geese. They had upped their numbers from eight the night before.  

 

Along the tree line three deer grazed. They posed and stared. They did not run, as they will later in the season when gunshots ring out. I wish to tell them they are safe here. This is their safe haven if they will only stay.  

 

The skunks, though we don't wish to share the house with them, are sighted regularly in the fields where we leave them be. They have shiny black hair that any brunette would envy and white streaks that are not always on their backs but sometimes on top of their heads. 

 

At the lake the ducks gobble the white bread. They prefer white to wheat. I think wheat is too chewy and ducks do not have teeth. The ducks bump my knees for more bread. On the way back to the house I saw a solitary deer; he appeared to be looking for someone or something. 

 

Entering the house I found Sam reading the newspaper. I announced that I had seen deer in the field. He looked up and pointed, "There's two deer under the pear tree right now." 

 

Sure enough, two deer, one with velvet antlers, nibbled pears under the tree. "OK," I conceded, "two deer under the pear tree trump four deer in the field."  

 

We've not heard from the skunks. 

 

 

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.

 

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