We are encouraged to cooperate on a daily basis, whether at home, school or at work. We are told it makes things easier. This story take place in a back yard–not the boardroom or the classroom. But the moral is the same–cooperation works.
This is about a lover of animals–a sensitive individual that has earned a tremendous amount of wisdom thru a variety of life experiences. A person that believes in cooperation. A person that would rather not take the easy way out. Someone who would go to battle for you if you are lucky enough to be their friend. Or a raccoon in need…
My friend works in the shadows–literally. It started years ago when a mother raccoon and four babies showed up looking for food. Instead of letting the raccoons continue to tear down her bird feeders, she encouraged cooperation. She could have taken the feeders down, she could have tried to discourage her nocturnal visitors, but instead she offered the raccoons their own food–at a set time and a set place. And they cooperated–the bird feeders were saved and the raccoon family was fed.
The next year, a mother raccoon brought two of the tiniest babies my friend had ever seen into her back yard. Mama carried them in her mouth, up a trellis, for safety. She then traveled back down to take food up to them. Night after night. My friend feels the mother was from the original family she had helped, that she knew this was a place of security for her two teeny tiny babies. One night, only the babies returned. Something had happened to the mother and the babies were left to fend for themselves. But they still came to this oasis of safety. My friend would wake up in the middle of the night and look out to see them asleep on the top of the trellis, where their mother had taken them to safety on so many nights.
They continued to come and eat the peanut butter sandwiches, nuts and dog kibble that was laid out for them. They ate nightly, until they went into hibernation. My friend keeps her distance, she does not consider them pets, she has no desire to domesticate them, to pet them. She does not want them to lose their fear of humans. Even though they are safe with her, they are not with others.
Her small act of cooperation years ago is still bringing joy to her now. Each spring, a large raccoon comes back–like clockwork. Is it one of the tiny babies from the past? She likes to think so. A happy thought that is so needed in such a world like ours, where examples of cooperation seem harder and harder to find.
Her current night time visitors include a fox, a possum, a skunk and of course a raccoon. There is no fighting, no territorial issues, no drama–it is as if they have been told that this safe haven relies on cooperation and discretion…along with handmade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.