12 June 2014

delightful confusion

Fiscalini Ranch is just around the corner from here. The trail through it winds both up into the hills and down around along the ocean's edge, twenty or thirty feet above the waves. It's all rolling coyote brush and a few scraggly low grass varieties mixed in.
Walking just as the sun was beginning to set, I watched the light reflect up off the water and bounce between the wet rocks when they weren't covered over by the waves.  Such beauty, and no one else in sight. The peace was profound.

I didn't go far down the boardwalk as the setting sun caused the air to become rapidly colder and most of my walk had been getting to the beginning of the trail itself.

Anyhow, heading back all bundled up in a sweatshirt enjoying the wind on my face and neck while watching the water turn from orange flecks to a purple grey scheme, I suddenly found myself face on with an entire little herd of skunks.
Mama's tail was straight up and six or seven little identical tails crowded around her.
What do you even do when faced with something like that? Something so fuzzy yet capable of striking fear into the heart of nearly anyone? The camper in me started yelling at the photographer: "For goodness sake get out of here! What are you doing?! Don't you know anything?!" But there I was, taking photographs.
Thankfully, not all of my sense left and I stepped back to give myself more time. They were coming on fast though and mama was looking rather nervous, rightfully making me so.
I started walking backwards. The camper in me was apparently also very adamant about not going off the trail, as I ruled out that option quite quickly. I realized however that mama had no intention of getting off the trail either and that, continuing my present course of action, I might have to walk quite a ways to satisfy her. There wasn't any way I was going to walk past her. I wasn't about to crowd her.
Problem solver that I am, I did the most reasonable (and dignified) thing and began to stamp on the boardwalk.
It did not have the desired effect. They all paused and the kits, confused at suddenly finding their mother behind instead of in front of them, began bumbling about in circles trying to find her again. However, moments later, she was charging ahead again, faster than before.
Once again, I did the most reasonable thing and added yelling to my stamping. About then is when I became particularly thankful that no one else was around.
The combination of noise and movement seemed to convince mama at last that it was not safe up there. She dipped down into the grass and slipped under the walkway.
All confusion broke loose.
The kits, suddenly finding themselves leaderless, scattered in every direction, bumping into one another and generally being adorable even in their oddly threatening state. I was, of course, taking pictures. Perhaps not the best idea however (though worth it now that I have the photos), as a couple of the little ones decided I must be mommy -- seemed logical to them I suppose -- and proceeded to bolt in my direction.
With greatly mixed emotions, all decorum was forgotten and I stepped off the trail and high stepped into the brush. I had originally planned to come back again the same way but one of the little ones was so determined to keep up that he tumbled down after me and moved much faster than I supposed possible.

While fighting a strong urge to pick him up and cuddle with him, I proceeded to leg it through the bushes as quickly as I could, just outstripping the tiny fuzz ball. I circled back onto the boardwalk closer to home, past where they had originally appeared, and looked back.

The last of the troops were gathering themselves again and slowly, like some tumbled game of sardines, managed to one by one discover mama who as still under the boardwalk.

Who can help but to find joy in such delightful confusion?

1 comment :

Hannah! said...

So much adorableness in this post. I can picture every bit of it in my mind perfectly, and it's great :D Miss you, dearie! <3

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...