I saw the little raccoon again.

Calling stories told by indigenous people of America ‘mythology’ may or may not be correct, but that is how I am going to refer to it when I write about it. For what it’s worth, I consider Star Wars and all of the associated characters all members of a pantheon of new deities that we will tell stories about a hundred years from now.
The Raccoon, in the mythology of the indigenous people of America, is the only character that can outsmart Coyote (or Trickster, but I prefer to think of Trickster as Coyote, mostly because of how much I enjoy the stories told by Thomas King). Even Coyote, to convince others to do what he wants, will cover himself in a Raccoon pelt so that they will trust him.
Another story told about Raccoon is how he is associated with astronomy. A meteor or comet is regarded as a child’s ball with a raccoon’s tail tied to the end of it. That’s an image that I enjoy, mostly because of how it ties to other mythos, about comets and meteors being signs of the Gods. The word disaster comes from two (I think ; I’m trying to do this sans Google) Latin words ‘dis’ meaning bad, and ‘aster’, meaning star.
A person does not go have to go very far for very long to come into contact with a raccoon and I imagine everyone has a story or two to tell about them. Regardless of the outcome of your stories, whether they’ve snuck under your boat cover and made a nest out of your once comfortable seats or they’ve scared away a dangerous dog, their unique, almost human personality traits, cannot be denied.
One particular trait that has been noted by others (and I must admit now, I did not manage to go long without Google) is one that I think I would like to emulate. They show now fear. It’s written that when they are put into a stressful situation, they don’t go into a adrenalin packed ‘flight or fight’ response. They slow down. They don’t move as fast and their heart rate actual slows, too, which allows those beady little eyes of theirs to take the time to analyze and calculate before they act.
Raccoons and animal myths have been an interest of mine these past couple of weeks, mostly because of what I saw lying in the middle of the road, struggling to make it across. I am not a religious person or even much of a spiritual one. It’s a problem I’ve had since Grade Eight. And, while I still have more days ahead of me than I do behind me, I have learned that sometimes experiences and the interactions with the people and places, my reactions and thoughts to and about environmental conditions, have a way of giving me a chance to learn something new every day. So, when I crossed paths with my little raccoon, I made a point not to forget him.
And I saw him again today. I’m sure it was him. He meandered south on the gravel path along the side of the road, on my right as I was going south. I honked at him. Three short bursts. Like I was trying to get his attention. And he lifted his head a little and looked in the direction of the truck. I passed by and watched him more through my rear view and side view mirrors, making sure he was still there. A lady behind me, driving a light blue Saturn, was doing the same thing as me, watching him with her mirrors.
After we had passed him, he started to cross the road, in the same meandering manner. A truck passed by, going north, and we both slowed down to watch to make sure that the raccoon was going to be okay. It was foolish to think it, but I considered doing an emergency U-turn, gearing down hard and reefing on the wheel to the left, to make sure that he would be okay. In my mind, it was dramatic and appropriate. I wanted to be able to read the mind of the lady behind me, to find out what she thought about it all.
The truck passed by and I could see a furry blot walking on the opposite side of the road. I guessed maybe that he was raiding the vegetable garden of the small farm there, probably trying to remember what the farmer tried to do the last time to stop him from getting that carrot or that head of lettuce.
I drove to work, wondering if there was any running water nearby. I wanted my little raccoon to be able to wash his food before his meal.

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