It is a well documented, well researched, and well settled area of natural law: when the pups of any female are for any length of time, separated from their parents, they are preyed upon by others.
Unfortunately, only humans have revised this natural law to fit their own intergenerational narrative: the narrative that mothers are the protectors of the young, which, in most if not all cases of flawed human paradigms, is just a narrative of convenience.
And that convenience enabled by males who seek access to the wealth of a female who creates pups–who seek her to lead them in to ponds wherein they can dominate, and steal food.
And, failing control, or access to the resources that a female brings–males from outside primary families seek to wreak havoc upon the fathers, and the children of females who have pups.
And, according to some species, they do it because they seek to own that female–to kill her pups in order to plant their own inside her, as if she is dirt–the dirt he walks upon.
In the human narrative, this is easily applied to the primary male of any household–what male, an individual, can stand against social forces that seek access to ‘his’ female? Very few, I suspect–after all, mammals are hierarchical, and predatory.
Well, not all mammals are created equal. Some, for various reasons, learn the dynamics of marauding males, and seek to avoid them. Failing that, confrontation becomes inevitable. And this, is just a shoestring narrative of milions of years of evolution, and millions of years of mammalian experience–but some males don’t folow that paradigm.
And only humans find such males to be the ultimate blood sport–the ultimate kill–the lone wolf, becomes the most feared and threatened of the species–in the human narrative, that is.
However, that wolf also becomes threatening in it’s own right, a challenge to any pack, anywhere-a sperm source that females can draw upon, independently, and apart from the brutality that alpha dogs employ in order to keep control.
Well–anyways–as you see, I digress–and that, often.
But last night–I am still finding words to tell you of it-
I have to make some of them up, because we fish do not always have words to describe what happens in your world.
But nothing–perhaps nothing in the narrative of fish or dogs, comes closer to describing universal truth than to say” no tragedy is more tragic than to have caused the death of a child,” except, perhaps one: to have caused the kidnapping of a child, only to look back, and realize that your own actions harmed a child, who was denied the truth of it’s own sadness–who at every point in time came upon bandaged, patched narratives that described its existence–and those narratives, obviously flawed beyond repair.
Now that, is a narrative I never wanted on my conscience. It is a narrative that would not allow, even in my most self indulgent, self medicated, self deluded moments–because the pain of bearing such lies is indeed, more than I could do–because that psain, is pain that is best attributed to those who caused that child such harm.
But in the human narrative, it is quite likely that nothing is more damaging, more corrupt, and more senselessly brutal than to tell a child that their father left them–and that he left them alone.
No one can tell my children that–I wouldn’t, didn’t, and couldn’t alow that, morally. In fact, I died many years ago, and, like a plant, or a fungus, began to live–and to live in the places that my children were forced to abandon as they followed lies.
No, I am still here–I am still battling against the same brutish pigs that stole you away–and you can NEVER say that I left you, despite every opportunity–every bettter advantage to do so.
It wasn’t my first–that is perhaps the hardest part of being a man, or being a father-to be, like it or not, engendered ‘daddy,’ and having to shoulder the great and heavy weight of protecting the young. Because sadly, in the society such engendered, protection almost always boils down to the barrel of a gun.
Yet their are other ways to protect children, I have found. And none of them include lies, or bragadocio based in half truths that perpetuate heroism mythology; none of them include the appearance of strength, and none of them, even more, include looking like a father at all.
But, I am that. And last night it al came back to me, again.
Because I had broken up a family–I had destroyed the nascent tribe of a second year coon, with entrapment.
We don’t always look down the road when we drive ourselves into our destinies–which is why destiny itself is just hollow fare for the soulless to cling to; because accepting ones actions in the moment requires great care–and, after that fails, accepting failure on its own terms.
Well, my destiny entailed trapping coons, for the last few weeks–I could not tolerate the thought of more destroyed flowers, more dead fish–and possibly, an outside chance that a recent child could catch a disease–or worse, some form of dust mites or ticks that I have not yet encountered in this life, or would know ow to protect her from.
So, I trap. I live, I trap. But I don’t live to trap–that is another profession; yet it is that profession that caused me to appreciate the value of trapping trappers, for these last few decades-and it becomes more and more complex as the decades wind on–technology trumps us all and often, those who are the masters of it are those who are also, the most dedicated to subverting ponds–as ownership of the narrative of ponds belongs, apparently, to anyone but those of us who build ponds.
And, ponds themselves, are traps. Just ask this guy, and his klan.
Wel anyways, I am going to write now, in scattered verse, because proper syntax often gets in the way of understanding.
Hrnghnaii-ieieie! And Yerooooo-oo-oowwrl! and yieyieyieyieyieyieyieyie!!! So loudly that it woke the house, and the trap, set, had caught its coon-not quite a yearling; and her brother was outside the trap, doing everything a brother could do to free her-and failing.
I had trapped the mother just he day before, and was surprised to catch another one night later. How could such smart animals be so stupid?
And the yowling went on and on for an hour or so. And then it changed, drasticaly–I knew in my heart that something bad was happening–bad, even in coon language, the language of the raw and wild; the language of sewers and drain pipes aned rivers and woods-the language of silence, broken only when necessary, and only when entraped–nd even then? ANOTHE language, even more loud-this yearling was screaming for help.
I don’t speak the language of coons, but I do know the importance of silence to them–and then, that broken by cooing, purring, and chatering, at low volumes. Most humans have heard a coon before, but might not have known what it was–their voices, and their words blend in with other night sounds so well thatyou could miss it.
But she was screaming, the girl in the trap–and it was the scream of desperation and horror. As I heard it, I knew it as what it was–and then my cultural training, my biases, and my outright ignorance got in the way.
So: I step out the door, and I see frollicking, at the head of my pond–it ooks like one coon, coming up on another coon, and wrestling it to the ground. It looks like one coon, viciously dominating another coon-and that is what it is, I know now.
But what threw me–what cautioned me away from a narrative of death? Were the sounds of submission–after the barking and growling, during the yowling and pleading of the girl in the cage? There were other sounds, with which I was unfamiliar–a cooing, if you will. And a seemingly–lest I say it?–joyous noise of whimpering, and squeaking of sorts–and I could see in the dark, that the figure had settled down-what looked like a riugh mating, it turns ot, was a homicide-with a larger male killing a smaller male–a smaller male that was not equipped with the knowledge or the violence to protect itself against such an onslaught.
I couldn’y know the motive, nor could I guess the crime–if I had several years to study this one little flock of coons, sure, I could make educated guesses–or if I had decades to follow this troupe, and its progenitors around? Yeah–I might have known a bit about their habits–but in no way–IN NO WAY, could I ever have watched this occur, unless I was engaged in trapping them.
There IS NO WAY I could have seen this take place, unless I had put out my trap, just after they came to my pond–itself, a trap of sorts.
And my oh my, what a gap between what I thought was happening, and what actually hapened.
So, here I am now, writing it out–I have written things out for years, and scattered my writing all over the country like seeds–but last night it came home, again.
I live in a predatory world, and sometimes, I fuck up. Or, I fuck up, inasmuch as breaking up a coon family bit by bit over several weeks time, and releasing the trapped ones onto the same path, at the same dog park, hoping they can sniff their way back to each other–and then this.
Imagine the damage I could do to an ecosystem, if my methods were widespread? My raw numbers based only on the last two weeks of entrapment say that 25% of what I trap or attract will die–and that because I hadn’t figured in the outliers-like unrelated male raccoons hearing the yowling of the young, and coming to kill them in order to gain access to a pond–or access to a ‘home’ where they otherwise would not have had access, had I not trapped the mother con before I trapped her babies?
It’s just too much for me to think about right now–it is an analogy I will continue to mull over, and one day, write again.
But what remains? Is that it was me, who watched, as that little coon was killed because I didn’t anticipate a bigger killer coming along.
So, lest I be forgettin’, ther is one more piece of te narrative that demands–that cries out for–explanation, and that, with vengeance upon them and those who so willingly murder the young: when I awkoe this day (last day, now, because it is sunligtagain, and I have my own pup to attend to)–lest I forget-it was tha hands of that little rascal that tried an amazing thing–here is the picture-again:
And then this–which is the part that stunned me–but before I replay this photo (remember, photo’s in and of themselves carry many narratives, not just one, cast upon the merciless and brutal laws of nature–as humans we are indeed endowed with other capabilities to inhabit, and interpret the law ourselves.)
But this photo below says what I could Never–and what science, as far as i know has never, and even now as I write this–I am somewhat certain that wildlife biologists have never described, per se*
In the days which led up to this-and in the previous entrapments, I had noted each time that the racoon family had atemted many things: the pond pump was turned off-both AT THE OUTLET, and also AT THE SWITCH! The coons had tried to reason that the electric source was what powered the trap!
The coons had also dragged this piece of iron rebar–four feet long, and weighing some three pounds or so, into the trap, in the last two entrapments!
The first time, I noted that the rebar, which normally is propped on the fence, approximately eight feet from the trap, had been moved towards the trap.
This time, I noted that the iron rebar had been INSERTED INTO THE TRAP after I had propped it against the fence from days before! In other words, these coons had tried in vain to liberate their family members, with little success–which in itself is amazing–but that they repeated not only the behaviors with the rebar, AND the switch, each time, tells me that there is something about raccoons that defies the literature, at least, in my reading of the literature.
What might that be? I suspect, this outlier could easily disrupt the narrative of trappers.
And those little hands, even in death, are alive to me.
Now, I can almost hear other trappers-the kind that kill and skin raccoons, thinking “maybe the best bait then, is another raccoon–maybe a yearling?
And I suppose the answer is “It depends on where you are trapping-and whether or not you break the law by using raccoons as bait to catch raccoons. And, for me at least, a mere goldfish in a bubble, I imagine that it all looks kind of od in every way, to those who do not trap.
And those hands–that tried so hard to liberate his sister? I take my hat off to that.