For two weeks I’ve changed my rhythms, going out to run at 5. It helped me get through the holidays that turned into a John Waters Christmas. All I needed was Divine to come back from the dead escorting my mother.
The park is pitch black at that hour, lit only by its lamp posts giving off just enough light to keep you on your route.
Only a handful of runners are out, along with a colony of raccoons, heading home.
Usually they skedaddle when they see you, but this hasn’t been the case with me. They tool on by as if to say…this is early, even for you.
I of course respect their territory, politely stopping to let them pass. One had his paws filled with contraband lifted from one of the trash bins.
When you see a lot of trash on the ground, it’s not from sloppy park-goers, but the coons who pick and choose what they’d like, forgetting to put the rejects back in the can.
They’re young, many of them, and I’m sure like all kids, have messy rooms.
They’re also shy creatures, another reason they prefer night to day, something we can all relate to.
Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the outside world.
People think when you happen to glimpse one at dawn, he’s diseased, but not necessarily. He’s just late, missing curfew…again. You can tell because they run faster, hoping mom doesn’t catch them.
I always picture the mother pacing up and down in the tree half worried, half pissed, sending him to that messy room.
You’re grounded for a week Rocky, or in his case, tree-ed till you can learn to respect the rules.
I’ll end with a story my friend Anthony, who has a cabin upstate, told me.
He had a dresser on his porch he was planning on stripping and refinishing that had several drawers. Every morning he’d get up to find them scattered across the yard.
He finally stayed up to catch whoever it was, and sure enough, a raccoon, the size of Pittsburgh, tooled up the steps opening each one to see if he’d find anything interesting.
Anthony, a big nature lover, was so charmed, he just sat and watched.
The next night when Mr. Raccoon came, he found the drawers filled with a buffet of canned goods.
Don’t you know he made several trips, and left the drawers alone.