Sleepy, at 6:30 this morning, I went to raise the blinds in the living room. As I reached for the pull-cord, I saw in the gap between the blind and the windowsill a most luxuriant tail, waving slowly back and forth. Wow! What a cat! I thought. I pulled the cord and raised the shade. Whoa. Not a cat.
Less than a foot away, thankfully outside the window, was a skunk. It was jet black with two wide, snow-white stripes along its back, and man, that tail! Black with the white stripes until it reached the last four or five inches at the tip, where it fanned out in a wild party spray of black, white and gray.
The skunk startled a little at the movement of the shade but continued its leisurely stroll along the walk and around the corner of the house. It seemed quite unconcerned. No wonder, though. Armed as they are with that noxious stink-bomb, not much worries skunks.
I don’t often see much wildlife here at Mom’s house, what with the busy road close by and the suburban neighborhood all around. It’s not like at my own house up the mountain, where any given morning might start with a raccoon or possum, a skunk or a deer, or even a coyote sighting, and nearly all mornings begin with our local gang of rowdy Stellar’s jays yelling up the sunrise from their perches in the tall pines.
Birds are rare around Mom’s place, too. I’ve seen all of one robin this spring, and no sparrows or finches whatever. Even the ubiquitous scrub jays that make the foothill live-oak glens their home are scarce.
This little dawn skunk was a gift. I hope I get to see it again.