A Racoon Ignoring Us from Above

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“It’s way too big to be a squirrel,” I said as I looked in the tree.

My teenaged son and I were camping near Shelton, WA and sitting by the fire he had been thrilled to build when I had noticed a creature settling into the branches above us.

We kept staring and squinting at it until Kieran decided to go down the trail by the row boats to check it out with more of the evening’s light.

“It’s furry, Mom. No way it’s a bird,” he said.

By this time whatever it was had settled in for the night and wasn’t moving. I thought the fur looked like a raccoon but we couldn’t be sure. The larger-than-a-squirrel-but-not-ugly-enough-to-be-an-opossum thing was doing an excellent job of ignoring us.

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A few years back we had camped with my sister and her kids in the same place with her little dog in a tent. We woke after midnight to find ourselves surrounded by raccoons circling the tent, hoping for a chance to munch the yapping little chi weenie who was barking with his whole body the way tiny dogs do.

So I wasn’t surprised this recent trip to see a masked face staring out from the branches when we checked the tree an hour later. He still did not seem to care if we saw him or not and tucked his face back in before I could manage a picture. I never knew raccoons slept in trees but this spot looked perfect for him. If I hadn’t seen him settle in, we never would have noticed his sleeping arrangement.

My son and I have seen the most amazing creatures when we stop our busy lives for a few moments. This particular member of the wildlife gave me the feeling that those we don’t notice might be too busy to notice us either. But, busy or not, I won’t soon forget that mask or his perch above us.

 

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