Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday, July 25rd, 2012 passed as the 36th day of summer. On the day of Raccoon, why not eat dinner down the by water? 58 days before fall arrives.

The Rose of Sharon has come into bloom. My grandmother Stella loved the Rose of Sharon, and she never bought one for her back yard in Warren, Michigan, a half mile north of Eight Mile and the City of Detroit. I imagine her son gave her a clipping, her older son who had his own greenhouse and carried on a family tradition of growing ones own vegetables. Rose of Sharon propagates from clipping so easily, and my grandmother surrounded her brick patio with the flowering tree. Her second husband, Stosh, paved the patio with reclaimed bricks from heavens knows where. Stosh taught me all about scavenging in dumpsters and gondolas. I was trained to dumpster dive as a young child, and I still grow very excited when I pass behind a store. But now, the gondolas are sealed and video cameras record every move. Stosh could find cases of lettuce and apples behind his favorite fruit store, which washed up well or could be tossed to the livestock. That fruit market was still open when I was substitute teaching on Nine Mile Road in 1988, and I would stop there to buy fruit with ready money. Then its owner leveled it. I stopped to regard the ugly patch of dirt left, upon which no grass grew for years.
In 1991, after Stella's passing, he returned to the bar rail on Ryan Road. There's a pretty ugly bar south of the corner of Nine and Ryan, a dive that really shouldn't exist in a modern city. The Club soda north near the freeway was much nicer. It's not good to be a man on your own, especially when one is old. He had two good brothers, professional men of the highest achievement. They did look in at him, the brother who worked hard but didn't accomplish anything in the world of letters. I would stop in to see him at Christmas, although he was bitter with the children of my mother. One night in 1999, he found himself on Mound Road as a car came rushing onward, and he survived the impact. He's not the only person in that neighborhood that found himself unexpectedly in traffic, under slightly mysterious circumstances. The last time I saw him, he was semiconscious in a hospital bed, groaning. Then I attended his funeral on the day when I scored a new job later in the afternoon. If you ever liked vaudeville and burlesque and polite men who went to barbers and succeeded at the race track most of the time, you would have liked my step-grandfather. If you ever liked George Burns, you would have liked my step-grandfather. He looked like Burns, except Burns probably didn't have Stosh's strength. If you've ever noticed that people of the milieu before ours knew who to mourn sincerely, to weep sincerely, you would have admired my step-grandfather. I have never forgotten the sound of his weeping, and I have never duplicated its sound. Is it any wonder why I am deeply disturbed by roadkill?
I saw the raccoon on the north side of Wellesley Dream, not more than a kit. The kit had almost made it across the road as its furry deadness laid right on the white line. A car had rolled its tires over it, must have been the front passenger tire, and it squirted fresh bloody guts towards the left. The mixture still glistened. I can't understand why the car involved couldn't have missed this one. I was driving south of White Lake three Julys ago, and I saw three kits standing head to head cowering before my onrushing grill, and I was able to break and let them scurry to safety. I was amazed at how cute their faces look as death approached. We will be seeing plenty of dead raccoons for the remainder of the season. The body count is amazing. Although female raccoons tend to stay close to their mother's territory, the males will form bands and go look for territory miles away. Dispersion doesn't take place until fall, but clearly the raccoons born from this spring's love have started to try out their legs. Around thirteen vocal calls have been identified for raccoon to raccoon communication. Seven are calls for motherly communication. There is no vocal call for "don't play in traffic". Newborns twitter like birds.
Raccoons are roadkill bait. Raccoons in captivity live for twenty years. The life expectancy of a raccoon in the wild spans from two to three years. Ever notice how awkwardly the raccoon runs when exiting the pavement under the glare of headlights? The raccoons' short legs make it a great climber but a tragic runner. The eyes see well in the twilight, and the black eye patches eliminate glare to improve vision of certain kind of light. However, with color blindness and an inability to see long distances, the raccoon doesn't see you coming until your wheels are too close. A raccoon can hear earthworms digging under his feet. I wonder what it thinks of the vibration made by an approaching car? Next time I almost hit a raccoon, I'll try to see if the blighter was scratching the asphalt.  The front paws are sensitive beyond belief, and whiskers on them help this sensitivity. The raccoon forages in the water for food, and the paws become even more sensitive when wet. Only in captivity will a raccoon wash its food. In the wild, the shallow water washes the crayfish for them. The word for raccoon comes down from the Proto-Algonquian words meaning, "one who rubs, scrubs and scratches with his hands." Christopher Columbus is said to be the first man to write about the species.
Raccoons have moved into cities, and have added tasty garbage to its diet. Raccoons have spread all around the world, even Japan. Life isn't a total downer for the Raccoon. When mortality is high, the females have more children. Sex must be pleasant because the male raccoon will keep up the love for several nights, but won't make the scene for raising the kits. I keep thinking that the male homo sapien body has been poorly designed, and now I am sure of it. We have knees that last for forty years if we are lucky and a sex organ that must inflate. If I read right, male raccoons have a four inch penis bone? Four inches impresses on a creature that grows between sixteen to twenty-eight inches in length. Maybe that's why American men in the Roaring Twenties took to wearing Raccoon fur coats.
Photography Credits:
Beschreibung: Nordamerikanischer Waschbär (Procyon lotor) / raccoon
Fotograf: Darkone, 5. August 2005
Description: Raccoons in a tree. Toronto, Canada.
Date: July 19, 2006
Ein Waschbär am frühen Morgen auf dem Dach eines Wohnhauses.
(English: A raccoon in the early morning on the roof of an apartment house.)
Date: 4 June 2007(2007-06-04)
Source: Bild selbst erstellt (English: Picture created by myself)
Author: Carsten Volkwein
I haven't read such good information about this species in a coon's age:


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