Sunday, August 07, 2005

Life on the Night Side

Summer in Texas is hot. Very hot. And though we love to bathe in the oily humidity of the lazy south, the twilight respite and velvety night calm are especially comfortable. In summers past we were often too exhausted to properly enjoy this time, mostly because we had to wake up and go to work (ew!) early in the day. But this summer we are on our own schedule, a luxury so profound that we often have to pinch ourselves when, on the nightside of 8 in the morning, we are finishing up a scene for our novel or tweaking the poetry collection or watching the remains of an America's Next Top Model marathon. Skunk Hour indeed.

But we've noticed that life on the nightside isn't held in, er, the highest esteem. We won't go into details here, but we've seen the brief flicker of judgement in peoples' eyes when we confess the details of our schedule. Shame on all the judgers!!!!

So we take comfort in the fact that we are not alone. We have our Nocturnal Comrades, both animal and human.

For example:

The Raccoon

Both the SB and my mother have a disdain for this creature. The SB had a micro-second showdown with one in the laundry room of our old apartment building, and just the other night my mother referred to these creatures as "scoundrels," and remarked that she "saw three raccoons on the side of the road and they looked just like a pack of bandits!!!"

I'll admit raccoons can be pesky, but they have those cute little masks! And their fluffy ringed tails? Adorable! And I think its cute that they sleep in the hollow trunks of old trees. We have a raccoon who has been raiding the bird feeder, and he even left a trail of seeds in the driveway! This creature is now knows as "the greeeeeeedy raccoon." Plus, on one episode of Little House on the Prairie, Laura decides to try to keep a raccoon as a pet. She named him Jasper and he did this funny trick where he would peel a hard-boiled egg and eat it. Because this post is about happy raccoons, I won't recount how the episode ends.

The Opossum

Of course we prefer the spelling with an "O," because, y'know, why leave out an "o" if you don't hafta? And we love animals with pouches. A mama will also carry her babies on her back, and if you've ever seen this then you know it is pretty cute. And they have prehensile tails! Once, we saw a pretty little ghostface possum roaming around in our back yard with -- get this -- a little cat friend. Really, they seemed quite amicable in the cat not attacking the opossum part. Poor little opossums -- they have a very high mortality rate, mostly because they are very placid and not into confrontation. Thus, they often lose. And who can't relate to that?

And we love this Emily Dickinson poem about the bat. And Wallace Stevens wrote about owls (see Owl's Clover and "The Owl in the Sarcophagus").

And plenty of peeps have kept our schedule. And though we do sleep, and therefore aren't technically insomniacs, if we were then we'd have company. Anyway, John Keats often wrote poems at night. And check out this Mina Loy poem. And BUFFY had to stay up to slay her nocturnal nemeses.

Of course we have many other night friends. And, truth be told, the best description of our schedule is probably crepuscular. But we're doing what we can to rehabilitate the reps of the noctunral crowd.

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