Maybe better than we did

Sylvia Shawcross

Now, Godot the raccoon, now aptly named Myrtle-Godot arrived plump and tired and fuzzy at dawn for what would be her morning feed. She laid her cool fingers on my hand and touched me with her cold nose and then she sprawled on her side to eat which I had not seen her do before.

Languidly laying there she reached out and scooped up the kibble at leisure with her little paws. I soon realized why. She was exhausted. There, behind her, five little wee faces. And I thought… I’m in trouble now.

I had been plotting how I was going to have to stop this nonsense or at least curtail it because really, it is a kind of madness to think you can feed six raccoons (now 11?) every single night and not expect the woodpile to be thrown about and the flowerpots up tipped and the howl of raccoon arguments all night.

I thought perhaps I’d feed them out on the ground and keep them away from the deck where the spiders spin and the moths flutter and the cats watch. A place where there was at least at some point in time a sense of rhyme and reason in the night. Unlike now.

And so, having decided to curtail all this, five little faces show up. Wee little baby faces. And the female hormones you’d think you’d eliminated at menopause for all their nonsensical repercussions race back and you are a mother to the gol’darned wilderness again. Heart swelling protective.

And yes, it is a terrible mistake to anthropomorphize wild creatures who are wild by definition (and hence perhaps much better than humans). But still, the heart is foolish.

Because they are wee. They are fuzzy. They are fragile innocent smuggly-bugully creatures whose lifespan in the wild is about five years but in captivity can be 20 or more. Because life out there is hard. And those five wee faces with innocent eyes and curious fingers are fated to hard times. And I cannot protect them. No more than Myrtle-Godot can.

She will raise them and send them on their way. Because that is the way of nature.

And sometimes, when I’m out there in the world, which is not very often and not for very long, I will see the young children here and there and feel that same feeling—the heart swell protective that wants them to have a gentle easy life with all the good the world can give them.

And I, who had no children, say a silent prayer for other’s children. But even more so for the parents who must find a way to raise them for the hard times that are here and coming. How can they do that? In this world?

There are those who say, “Oh heavens we raised a bunch of entitled snowflakes.” The children who cry if they have to work and they have a preponderance of hurt feelings. And they don’t know how to do anything practical at all. I wouldn’t say that though. I would say they have been born for a world we have not yet made and it will be their life challenge to create it.

They may be the generation that will not compromise. They will not be debt slaves. They will not act out repressed emotions. They will stop wars. They will value feelings and nurture nature. They will value music and art far beyond the idea of money. They will re-remember history and the lessons learned. They will put reason and logic where reason and logic belong. They will treasure compassion and hope and children. They will never tolerate deliberate divisiveness again and they will demand leaders of the highest integrity. Because they are, snowflakes or not, very very smart. Smarter than we are or ever hoped to be.

They just have to get there from here and it ain’t gonna be a pretty ride. Right now they are in a harsh learning phase. But they will learn quickly. They are going to face some of the hardest challenges a generation can face but I have no doubt they will find solutions we never even entertained. As if the vast universe of knowledge available to them will suddenly coalesce into humanity’s greatest achievements, rising up from the groundswell.

They will be fine. Eventually.

When they sort through what we’ve tried to give them and polished it all up with their dreams of a better world. It will be dazzling. In the meantime, the best that we can do is show them the things we never did figure out… such as wars and greed and suffering and class differences and totalitarianism.

We can show them history and how “this” will inevitably lead to “that” and what will they do? How will they find their way through? We can show them Faith and Hope. They might just figure it out. Better than we did.

Today’s earworm:


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Categories: latest, opinion