This morning, stepping out on to the porch to fill the little birdfeeder, I saw some movement in a tree in the neighbor’s yard. It took a second to see past the camouflaged colors, but then I started shouting for Declan to come look.
This has been one of our jokes lately. A few weeks ago I was running in the morning (or, as I like to say, “running”) and I heard a noise in a driveway, looked and saw a dog jumping against the chain-link fence in someone’s yard. That was weird, because there’s not a lot of dogs outside at six in the morning, pre-dawn and forty degrees out, and almost never any dogs unattended. I looked more closely and it wasn’t a dog at all, it was a raccoon, body fully extended in the process of climbing up the fence, frozen still in the hopes that I wouldn’t notice it. In retelling, this has become a Giant Raccoon, Rawr. (I mean, he was pretty fricking big, but I don’t know what’s normal for a raccoon.)
Giant Raccoon was up in the tree in the neighbor’s yard; more accurately, it was trying to get down from the tree. Declan took one look at it, said “oh cool!” He then took another look, said “I’m going to get back inside it case it comes this way,” and disappeared back into the basement. Shortly after Giant Raccoon trundled down behind the neighbor’s garage, I saw a second fat furry body scrambling out of the upper tree branches. Equally Giant Raccoon followed its partner down the tree, utterly lacking in grace or skill at tree-climbing.
One of the raccoons seems to not have a tail? I’m not sure what to make of that.
We’re settling in for a cozy New Year’s Eve. We had no going-out plans for this new Covid wave to disrupt; I think we’re mostly mimicking last New Year’s, which was a huge success. We’re going to cook ourselves a fancy-feeling dinner and then watch some tacky countdown television. Declan is very insistent about staying up until midnight. Last year, I was skeptical that he’d make it, but he absolutely did. Last year, Dec and I did fireworks and sparklers with our Animal Crossing villagers, and then all three of us ran out into the backyard to bang some pots and pans right at midnight. Dec and I don’t play nearly as much Animal Crossing, but we’re planning a full repeat at midnight because it worked so well last time. I hope the new neighbors appreciate our joyful noise.
To echo a sentiment I’m seeing from many of my friends, oh god, who has the energy for a year-end wrap-up? This year was about eight million years long. (I mean, linear time is not a thing anymore. My neighbor’s house caught on fire and that was less than two weeks ago but feels like six months ago, how am I supposed to remember twelve actual months?) I keep saying “well we just moved” but it’s been more than two months since we moved, you know? Everything is a blur.
Housekeeping note: I’m still drawing daily tarot cards, but they’ve started to mean a little more to me, so I stopped feeling comfortable using them as writing prompts. Instead, I’m going to use sentences from Duolingo. I gave up on Polish, because it felt impossible, and also because we left our Polish-speaking neighborhood. (Learning Polish also made me feel a little connected to my grandma, but seriously, even if she hadn’t died twenty years ago, learning Polish wouldn’t have given me an actual connection to her. When her parents died from the Spanish Flu and she went to live in the Catholic orphanage, they changed her name from Bronislawa to Blanche and wiped her slate clean. My real connection to Grandma Blanche, if we’re being honest, comes every time I bridge a deck of cards when I shuffle. I started crocheting because she loved to crochet, but that was well into adulthood; handling a deck of cards was most of what she taught me when she was alive.)
Voy a sentirme feliz hoy: I’m going to feel happy today. It’s all about the little things. Happy New Year, y’all. Love you and miss you.