Saturday, November 24, 2007

On Skunks, Vermin, Gaia and the Open Halls of the Soul

This post was submitted by my good buddy Jimmy B. He may well become a frequent contributer to Dark Cedars. In a future post I will shed some light on my friend's so thinnly veiled anger toward the other species (as in "man vs. everything else") that populate the mother organism Gaia.


Here's a true story I wrote in the beginning of November. I share it with you now.

Two skunks (a mother and its young offspring) had been terrorizing the village of Hamilton for weeks. They seemed particularly fond of our property, so we took steps to seal the gaps in the foundation, under the deck, etc.

I was surprised to learn that the village doesn't have a publicly-funded animal control service. I was unsurprised to learn that it is illegal to discharge firearms in village limits. I mulled over my remaining options: rat poison, explosives, ... but the local consensus favored trapping and relocating the skunk to the ample wilderness nearby. The internet even offers instructions:; it must be safe! I've been told that you can actually put a trapped skunk in the trunk of a car without risk of spray. I'm dubious of this claim, so instead I asked to borrow a friend's truck.

Just before I was ready to borrow another friend's vermin trap, Sarah nearly stepped on the big skunk, which was curled in a ball on the edge of our lawn. We monitored it for about a day - was it sleeping or was it dead? Sarah left work with a coworker one day to throw rocks at it. When the beast didn't respond, they started poking it with a stick.

Sarah left the job of relocating it to me. Imagine, for a second, carrying a dead skunk across your property with a shovel. Its tail is just feet from your face. I don't care how much rigormortis has set in - the paralyzing fear that it will suddenly resurrect itself and unleash its spray never leaves you. I'm still having nightmares. Nonetheless, I'm pleased to report that the corpse has been resting peacefully on our front curb over the weekend, patiently awaiting removal by village services (they take care of dead pests, not live ones).

Sarah thinks she willed the skunk to death. I've just enjoyed watching the shock and horror on the faces of runners as they jog past our house. Hopefully the skunk problem is solved... but I'm afraid. I don't know where the baby skunk is. I've attached a picture of our dearly departed. It's so cold here that it looks like we've just pulled the thing from our freezer.


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