Last night, as I walked from the car to my doorstep, (without my glasses on), I saw a cute furry creature in my path. Being a lover of all furry kind, I reached out to pet it. It looked up at me. It had a black mask and a ringed tail. It raised one of its paws in an, “I don’t know if I should run or attack,” way. I pulled my hand back realizing I was this close to getting it eaten off by a racoon.
He and I looked into each other’s eyes for a moment. It felt like an eternity, but I’m sure it was only a few seconds. We had a mind meld of, “Don’t worry. I got you. We’re not going to hurt each other. It’s all good.”
I turned my head and went into the house. When I came out again to lock the car, the raccoon was gone. I felt a pang of loss and hope that he would find sustenance and a safe place to sleep. Someone pointed out to me later that because he was so fat, (he was a BIG boy), that must mean he has no lack of food. That made me feel better.
I took the encounter as a sign.
I don’t often take things for signs. I’m skeptical of that business. In the words of Freud, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” But then, of course, sometimes it ain’t.
I took it for a sign for a couple of reasons. First is that in all the 23 years I have lived in this town, I have never seen a raccoon. Never. Second is that I just started intensely working on a book where Hermes is the main character. What is the raccoon? He’s a bandit. He’s a thief in the night. He’s tricky. He’s smart. He’s a survivor. If that isn’t a Hermes animal, I don’t know what is. Finally, the fact that the only raccoon I would see in 23 years of living here should happen to cross my path within just inches of me two days after I started the Hermes book is too uncanny to ignore.
I took the sign to mean that Hermes is fine with the book. It is quite irreverent and I was worried about that. The raccoon did not attack or even look at me with the slightest meanness in its eyes. He was wary. I was wary. When we saw the other was going to be respectful, all was well and there was a peace between us.
If I approach my book from an irreverent yet respectful place, I need not fear offending Hermes or any of the gods. So says Rocky the raccoon.