Sadly, today I have to tell you that our dear old friend, Groucho, has gone over Rainbow Bend . . .
In my last blog, I told you just a little about a stunning bobcat and how our old feline, Groucho, paid him absolutely no attention when he wandered by. Sadly, today I have to tell you that our dear old friend, Groucho, has “crossed over Rainbow Bridge,” as my friend Linda would say. He lived a very long, happy life . . . 20 years and brought us much joy. He took a part of our hearts with him, and I have decided to make him “immortal” in my books, so he’ll travel with Master Wabi and we’ll all get to visit with him still. He was such a special friend to us.
Today, as on most days when one lives on the marsh, there’s a lot of competition for the seeds that I placed in the bird feeder just outside the glass doors of my writing studio. The seeds were intended for the cardinals, red-winged blackbirds, doves and blue jays that are frequent visitors. Just now, however, my attention was drawn to a very loud, raucous, noise and when I looked, there was a squirrel, a dove, and a raccoon “discussing” who was going to eat the first course! It only took a moment for them to all agree that the raccoon was to have first seating, then the remaining ones could figure out the seating for the following courses!
Raccoons are very cute, but can be very destructive also. And as one may play a role in a future novel, I did a little research which revealed some interesting facts about these most common critters. We see them almost daily here, and sometimes I would really like them to take a vacation!
My research was dedicated to some of the mythology that surrounds these animals. The Aztecs believed that raccoons have supernatural abilities, especially the females, whose commitment to their cubs is reminiscent of the same behaviors that the wise women of the Aztecs brought to their own children, and people.
In the world of animal symbolism, the raccoon is the symbol of the many masks that we, as humans, present to the world around us. Raccoon’s wisdom includes understanding the nature of these masks, and their dexterity, their disguise, are clues to us to question without fear, balancing our curiosity, and keeping some of our secrets to ourselves.
Raccoons are thought to be some of the earliest shape shifters. Their magic is their mask, and the mask has a far deeper meaning. None of us are ever quite what we may seem, even to ourselves, for in our lives we all experience the freedom of many identities, be it with our spouses, our children, or our friends. This ability to change is like our medicine that helps us to take on these various roles.
Our lives call for us to wear many masks, and the lesson the raccoons leave us with is that they must spend much energy daily trying to be aware of everything around them, deciphering dangers and walking toward situations that will lead them to living a fuller, more satisfying life .
. . a lesson that we humans could take to heart ourselves as we, too, work to keep our masks in place.