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Skunked

A couple of weeks ago I was on my way to the backyard swing with an early a.m. cup of coffee when a skunk wandered into view. As I sipped coffee indoors, I watched the intruder through the window. There was no denying its beauty — solid black except for glaringly white bushy eyebrows that met in the middle. For no discernable reason I named that skunk Bo-Peep.
Thus began a daily skunk patrol. After pouring my coffee, I’d look out various windows to case both the front and back yards before sticking the first toe outside. Then I’d venture no farther than a chair on the patio near the back door with that first cup of coffee.
This morning I decided: enough! Rather than let Bo-Peep rule, I returned to the swing. To celebrate this bravery, before going inside I gave my raised bed plants a good watering and weeded a small swatch of herbs planted near the patio. As I turned to collect the pulled weeds, a skunk ambled out from behind the toolshed. It was bigger than Bo-Peep with white drizzling down from its topknot and a white tip on its tail.
I watched Skunk #2 from various windows for probably half an hour. Till then I hadn’t known that, if a skunk has an itch, it will sit down (or not bother to sit) and scratch with its hind foot like a cat or dog. In its wanderings, S-2 kept its nose to the ground, searching with a sweeping motion like a Geiger counter. He found some irresistible morsel under the magnolia tree and dug with such vigor, he was standing on his head with his tail high in the air — the ‘spraying’ stance that I hope never to see up close.
After inspecting the back yard, S-2’s wanderings took him to the front yard near Miss Maple. Then he returned to the back, checked out the area around the toolshed, and went down our hill. On his way back up, after enjoying some tender treat found beneath the climbing rosebush, he disappeared around the house and I gave up following his journey.
Bottom line? 5:30 a.m. coffee in the swing will not resume in the near future.
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