In winter, when Jon cannot fish, he ties flies -- tiny works of art, shimmering and exactly executed with both symmetry and complexity. In spring, when the roads are strewn with the sad evidence of anyone too slow to cross, he stops and harvests tying materials. I am the only wife I know of who has a boning knife, wire snips and plastic bags in the glove compartment. Back off, girls -- he's all mine.
The wafting from that beautiful late-winter tail reminds me of the skunks we have known. Many years ago, before rabies was an issue with skunks here, we had a long-term relationship with both them and our other back-door neighbours - the raccoons. The skunks were our hands-down favourites because of their gentle natures. Skunks are slow, appreciative eaters, meanderers, and unbelievably nice. If they seep, it's only a little bit and not unpleasant.
One evening, however, the raccoons and skunks arrived at the same time so one particular skunk had assumed the classic defensive u-shaped position which allows for both aiming and shooting. Now have you ever observed the table manners of raccoons? They hoover a handout while already sussing out the next one. And perhaps this skunk, like Marilyn Monroe, was short-sighted and too vain to wear her glasses. One raccoon simply moved to her rear and reached through, grabbing a piece of bread right out of Marilyn's mouth. Marilyn did not shoot.
I would have shot. I would have blasted that raccoon with all six barrels. But if your dog comes home stinking, you'd better believe that the skunk felt she had no choice. Ample warning had been there for anyone to see or sniff.
We don't see skunks very often any more because feeding them is no longer a safe option, but we wish them well and welcome them to our garden. They have continued to be good neighbours. If they visited the last night, I can immediately see that any and all grubs have been removed and put to good use. All I have to do is to push the divots back down. Thanks.