July 22, 2008

There's something about possums

Koko and I are just in from a walk -- one that ended up being shorter than expected. We were barely out of the house when I noticed Koko focused on something across the street, partially hidden by parked cars. I peered. It was too late at night for a squirrel, and the chipmunks have gone to bed by now, too. Well, then. It must be a bunny. I waited for a hop to confirm my opinion but instead saw a head swivel on a neck and the nose do its characteristic droop toward the ground before movement.

Could it be --? Was it -- ? Oh, heck. The possum was back.

The illustrious Koko, although longing to give the marsupial a friendly snap of the neck, obeyed my command to walk the other direction with me. One of us turned a number of times to be sure we weren't being stalked. Not Koko; he'd gone on to sniff out more important information. I, however, remained unsettled, and after a quick turn around the complex, we came back home. There's just something about possums. As far as I'm concerned, you just can't depend on them. You never know when one will give chase with the intention of sinking its fangs into your Achilles tendon.

Granted, possums seldom if ever give chase. They are, for want of a better word, pacifists. But they're ugly, and it's a dark night tonight, and there's a hint of storm in the air, and I'm not taking any chances.

For the record, while we are not in the heart of downtown Louisville, we are in the long-settled and heavily populated St. Matthews area, with Interstates 64 and 264 intersecting less than half a mile away. It's pretty clear that no matter how thoroughly humans lay claim to the land, the possums were here first; and here they remain.

1 comment:

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

Possums (opossums? opossi?) are typically in possession of a sharp little mouthful of needle-like teeth. I've seen them eat everything from cigarette butts to earthworms. If you stumble over one accidentally (say, while fumbling for the cat's dish in the dark on the back porch) you can get a nasty surprise. Their hissing is pretty frightening, and significantly reduces the number of times they are compelled to apply the aforesaid teeth to one's ankle.