The Chuckster

He’s been here longer than we have, we thinks.

It’s been a while since I wrote about our backyard residents. They’ve been around, I’ve been busy.

Hecate, last year’s racoon mother, is showing up once again, daily. We know she has kits, she’s not deigned to share them with us yet. No pics yet.

Her three surviving kits from last year, Sheldon, Veronica and Porgy, come by nightly and wait for me. It’s interesting to recognize that racoon memory spans years, like ours, and that they remember me from one season to the next, through their winter nocturnes, and associate me with…goodness? Food, definitely, and easy to get food at that.

But isn’t that goodness to an animal? Easy to get food?

A dog once told me that they ask themselves five questions each day; Am I warm? Am I safe? Am I dry? Am I fed?

And lastly, Am I loved?

He told me that those first four questions are meaningless unless the fifth is asked, is true.

I so wish I could answer that fifth true for all on this planet, this little orb whirling around a star whirling around a galaxy whirling around a cosmos. We are less than a grain of sand yet when loved we are the universe itself.

Opie and Ophelia also come by nightly. Haven’t seen Horace The Bear in a bit and the Foxen (closest English has to their plural name for themselves) have moved on, it seems. Probably wise if Horace is in the neighborhood.

The Coyotes keep local and we still hear them when the moon is full or the day requires a good howl at its close.

And of course, The Turkeys. Haven’t seen them in a while. Their eggs have hatched and they’ll be keeping their turklets (Agnes explained that they weren’t “chicks”, they were turklets) hidden and safe through the summer. We’ll see them again in the fall and perhaps in the winter, depending on food supplies.

And all remember us or at least me from year to year. There is a comfort in that, something I’ve shared with others.

Animals, we are told, exist in the now with no angst over their past or fears for their futures. I disagree. The wildlife around here remember me, us, and come to us. I can stand outside in the evening or night and hear them scurrying to me, no fear in them, not hiding from me. The raccoons, especially, come out and wait patiently, knowing I will be aware of their presence and come out to talk about their day and share mine.

But this post is specifically about Chuckie, aka The Chuckster, this year’s resident woodchuck.

The Chuckster

Woodchucks (aka Groundhogs but nobody likes to be called “Hoggie” so Woodchuck it is) were actually the first guests to grace our backyard.

More correctly, they were the first to let us into their backyard. That was some thirty years ago (deep roots, they and us) and we’ve had woodchucks every year since. One wonders if they’re all in the same family line.

Whatever. Say hello to The Chuckster, everybody.