My parent’s house is on an acre and a half and is surrounded by woods. Growing up, I saw my fair share of rabbits and birds, and even became closely acquainted with a squirrel that would knock on my sliding glass door whenever the feeders were empty. Every now and again, I would even be lucky enough to see a deer, and just this past year a doe and her fawns bedded down near the house. I loved it there. After those experiences I was a little worried that my wildlife sightseeing was over when I moved into the city.
As I looked over the yard at my new house, I was relieved to see that the lot backed up to some woods and a little creek. Surely, this would afford me some interaction with wildlife. A week went by and I saw nothing. Not so much as a bird landed on the telephone wire that runs across my front yard. I was a little down hearted that I had yet to encounter any critters. One night, as I was getting ready for bed, my housemate shouted from the front door, “Aimee, get out here!” The only thing going through my mind was, “Oh no, something horrible has happened!” Well that was not the case at all.
I peeked my head out front door and saw my housemate sitting on the doorstep pointing at a blob in the lawn. I blinked a few times; trying to refocus my eyes to make sure what I was seeing was true. It was a skunk! I had never seen a skunk in the wild up to that point. I slowly made my way outside and sat next to my housemate. We sat there for some time, quietly appreciating the beautiful critter that was making its way slowly across the yard. When the skunk was finally out of sight, I smiled at my housemate, who was more amazed by the skunk than I was. Even though he lived in the country his whole life, it took a move to the city for him to see a wild skunk.
We continue to sit on the front porch for a few minutes every night to see if the skunk will return. So far, it has not, but we have seen a family of raccoons, a group of groundhogs, an opossum and even several deer that have bedded in our neighbor’s backyard.
The sighting of the skunk taught me a valuable lesson. No matter where I go, nature will always be there, as will the critters that rely on it. It is all about taking the time to get out and enjoy it. When was the last time you took a minute to check out the wildlife in your backyard?