Saturday, May 30, 2009

night shift

out on the path for my midnight run. smelled him before i saw him. saw the plastic bowl with the raccoon standing, pensive, over the bowl, eating. saw the two other coons and the male and female mallards, waiting. saw the bread crumbs ejected from the underside of the bridge towards the ducks. i stopped dead in my tracks so not to disturb what i was seeing. too late, the coons spooked into the tunnels of rhodo and the projector and protector emerged. jake is his name. homeless. these raccoons are the 3rd generation that he "has raised". the ducks showed up last year and have never left. they meet here every evening. how he gets his bag of bread and his cat chow he feeds his raccoons, i don't know. he told me all about his 3 raccoons, like a proud papa. offered to show me where he buried their grandmother. he tells me of how he his dad and mom couldn't hold his family together, so it's important to him that he holds this one. he's been sober for 3 years. jobless and homeless for 5 of those. he needs me to know that his sobriety is because these guys rely on him. i ask him about what would happen if he left, and he assures me he never will. they need each other. them for food, him for companionship and for a reason to live. i am floored at how calmly and with truth he said this. i shook his hand, gladly. clipped on my headlamp and bid goodnight and finished my run so things could return to balance in jakes and the animals world. i haven't been able to shake the compassion i saw. the night shift.
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