By the time my backyard cat population attrited, I had a young raccoon with long tits feeding regularly at the food bowls. Once I spotted her opening the door of my neighbor’s shed and going in, letting the door swing shut behind her.
Soon Little Mama was feeding at Wanna Café by night with three rollicking babies. My husband insists we continue with the free food. “You’re disturbing them,” he says when I switch on the light to see if I can spot them at the bowls, flipping in and out of the pans of water I’ve set out. It’s a pool party at Wanna Café every night, and since I’m the hostess, I think I have the right to enjoy it, too. I want to see their long back feet, their little nibblish hands. I want to see the babies fall into the water, leap out, spin the food bowls.
More than that I want to open the door of that shed and see their little eyes glowing in the dark. I want to share their secrets.
I know if I do that, they must leave if they still live there; they will no longer feel safe. It’s the same impulse to clap my hands to see the clattering blackbirds swirl into the air, to run into the field of a thousand snow geese and watch them rise and circle. The same impulse of a child who takes a stick to stir a hill of ants just to watch them scatter.
I know it’s egocentric to want disturb these creatures at the necessary labor of their survival just so they will dance for me. But still I want to.