it wasn’t the bear

We thought it was the bear who is rumored to come through these woods every once in a while.
The bird feeder we hung from a tree was ripped down, clawed, and thrown several yards away. The pole on which the other two bird feeders hang was pushed to lean precariously to the left. Some of my potted plants were turned over or pawed through. After two mornings of waking up to the devastation, we positioned a light to shine on the area at night, removed the bird feeders, and waited for some telltale noises.
No bear. But three racoons — large, middle sized, and small. They circled the spots where the feeders should have been, snuffling the ground for some leftover seeds. I didn’t know that racoons eat birdseed. Within a few minutes, they gave up and plodded away, probably over to our neighbor’s who had reported the other day that his garbage bin was toppled over and the contents strewn all over his yard.
So we bungee corded the garbage bin we left out for collection.
Now, we take the feeders in at night and put them out in the morning. I don’t mind the squirrels and the chipmunks vying with the birds for the fallen seeds. At least they don’t wreak havoc in the process.
That’s what we get for excitement here on the mountain. Except, of course, for my mother’s “episodes,” which leave us frustrated and exhausted as she moans unconsolably, overwhelmed by the aches of her body and spirit.
“I’m dying,” she whispers, licking her dry lips, panting and reaching out. Within a half-hour, she’s up and wandering around yelling “You’re trying to kill me,” as we do try to get her to take her prescribed meds. “Shit,” she says. “Go to hell!” she says, this woman who never used any kind of profanity in all of her life — until now.
“This IS hell,” I think to myself.
I would trade lives with those racoons in a minute.

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